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Auburn parents fear remote learning could return as COVID-19 cases rise in schools

With three kids attending class in the Auburn School District, Michelle Calkins said there's a worry that one of her kids could bring the virus home.

AUBURN, Wash. — As more students and staff test positive for COVID-19 in Washington schools, some parents worry schools could shut down and transition to remote learning again.

Michelle Calkins has a 4th, 7th and 10th grader in the Auburn School District (ASD). She said since school started, she has received at least five COVID-19 notifications from Auburn schools. Two of the letters came on Monday, in addition to a phone call notifying her that her 4th grade son had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

"It's kind of just the consequences of sending him to school, that we are going to get these and we are going to get quite a few," Calkins said.

Calkins was told to pick her son up immediately to be tested for COVID-19. On Tuesday morning, test results came back negative, a relief to her family of five. 

However, other families have not been so lucky.

In the past two weeks, the ASD has seen nearly 100 positive COVID-19 cases.

Seattle Public Schools, which is the largest school district in Washington state, has seen more than 160 positive cases. Tacoma Public Schools, the third-largest district, has seen nearly 70 positive cases.

"It's concerning, you know?" Calkins said. "It's scary and it's only going to get -- probably going to get worse."  

However, she is looking forward to the day the COVID-19 vaccine is approved for kids ages 5 to 11.

"Any protection I can get, yeah, I will go to vaccinate him," she said. Due to vaccine ineligibility, Calkins' 4th grade son is the only member of the family who has not been vaccinated.

With three kids attending school, Calkins said there's a worry that one of her kids could bring the virus home.

"It's going to be on my mind throughout the school year," she said.