Massachusetts School Sends 9-Year-Old Boy Home After He Sneezes in Class

September 23, 2020 Updated: September 23, 2020

A 9-year-old boy in Arlington, Massachusetts was sent home after he was caught sneezing by a concerned teacher. His parent was informed that the child won’t be permitted into class unless he tested negative for COVID-19.

Thierno Keita told CBS Boston that his son, Lancinet, was sent home from Bishop Elementary School on Tuesday after a teacher directed him to visit the school nurse for sneezing in class.

Lancinet, a fourth-grader, said that after he “sneezed two times,” his teacher told him to go to the nurse’s office, where he had to wait until his father came and picked him up.

“I was thinking I didn’t have anything, just a couple sneezes,” Lancinet told the news outlet, adding that he felt just fine at that time.

Keita said that he was upset with the way his son was treated, noting that when he was called to school, the boy didn’t show any symptoms that would indicate a CCP virus infection.

“He don’t have any symptoms, no one, and he’s OK,” Keita told CBS Boston. “And I checked his temperature. Everything was perfect.”

Keita said he has no choice but to take his son for a COVID-19 test, with the hope of having the results as soon as possible so he can return to school.

A spokesperson for Bishop Elementary said in a statement that school administrators decided to send Lancinet home out of an “abundance of caution.”

“A student at Bishop Elementary School was sent home early today after he displayed COVID-19 related symptoms,” the statement read. “This decision was made both out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with district protocols related to COVID-19.”

“This isolated incident is not indicative of any need for wider concern of COVID-19 exposure,” the statement continued. “Per district protocols, the student will either have to produce a negative COVID-19 test, written documentation from a health care provider stating it is an alternative illness or be symptom free for 10 days following the start of the symptoms.”

The incident comes as Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker repeatedly urges school districts in areas that are considered low-risk for the CCP virus to bring children back to school.

“Getting kids back to the classroom, obviously, is something that we believe is critically important to our success and to our kids’ success going forward,” said the Republican governor at a Wednesday press conference. “It’s very important for people and communities to look at three week’s worth of data, which is four week’s worth of information before they make decisions about changing their plans with respect to schools.”