Boston-Area 9-Year-Old Sent Home for ‘Couple Sneezes’

A 9-year-old who had “just a couple sneezes” was sent home from a suburban Boston grade school because he “displayed COVID-19 related symptoms” and told he could not return until he had a negative test for the novel coronavirus.

Fourth grader Lancinet Keita had to be retrieved by his father Tuesday after receiving a call from the school nurse at Bishop Elementary School in Arlington, Massachusetts.

“I sneezed two times [and] the teacher told me to go to the nurse,” said Lancinet Keita, who said he felt fine. “I was thinking I didn’t have anything, just a couple sneezes.”

Thierno Keita said his son did not have any symptoms before he left for school nor when he picked him up, CBS network affiliate WBZ reported.

“I’ve been so upset about it,” Thierno Keita said. “I’m so upset about sending my kid home.

“He don’t have any symptoms, not one, and he’s OK, And I checked his temperature everything was perfect. His temperature was OK. It’s OK.”

Thierno Keita said his son has been told he needs to be tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which he will do and hopefully will get the results quickly so Lancinet can return to school.

The school issued a statement claiming it was following district procedure.

“A student at Bishop Elementary School was sent home early today after he displayed COVID-19 related symptoms,” the statement said. “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.

“Per district protocols, the student will either have to produce a negative COVID-19 test, written documentation from a healthcare provider stating it is an alternative illness or be symptom free for 10 days following the start of the symptoms.”

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