Contact tracing is critical to learning more about how the deadly coronavirus spreads, but a group of Utah parents say it’s a nuisance.
They’re encouraging families to stop testing their children in an effort to keep schools open.
The movement to reduce testing among schoolchildren began on Facebook, among parents who call regular COVID-19 testing “unnecessary,” as results may force the whole school to shut down, despite the number of children unaffected.
Davis County school district parents are calling it the “mom code.”
“Stay home, don’t get tested,” read one comment. “If your child shows COVID symptoms, please keep them home but DO NOT test,” said another, according to “Good Morning America,” which obtained screenshots of the posts before they were removed from social media.
“I personally think getting tested is selfish,” read another comment, reported by Salt Lake City’s KUTV. “Because of the fact that they contact trace everyone so one person leads to 30 people that have to quarantine or worse, programs like athletics etc. are shut down. It’s mass hysteria [because] one person came in contact with another person that had the sniffles and ran to get tested! Stop the testing. Stop the Contact tracing.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend patients test only when they show signs of COVID-19 illness or if they have been in contact with someone who has the virus. However, “mom code” proponents would rather risk the possibility of an outbreak due to an asymptomatic carrier of the infection, rather than have school doors shut again.
KUTV first reported the trend on Friday, talking to some of those who oppose “mom code.”
“Parents are saying, ‘let’s not test,’ just so they don’t have to worry about shutting down the sports teams,” said parent Genevra Prothero. “I think that it is absolutely a disgrace.”
Utah health officials warned parents in a statement to “GMA”: “Testing is a critical element of our response. Identifying cases … is a key strategy to limiting the spread of disease in our communities.” State health data reveals more than 8,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Davis County, which has a population of about 355,000.
Davis County school board candidate Emilie Daly, also a mother of four, said she can sympathize with “mom code” supporters, but she doesn’t plan to forgo testing, according to “GMA.”
“It’s not mandated to get tested, that’s the thing,” said Daly. “And so we need to remember that it is a choice and you need to make decisions based off of what you feel.”