By CAMERON HARRISON and SEAN SANDERS, ABC News
(DAVIS COUNTY, Utah) — Health officials are sounding the alarm about a group of parents in Utah who are allegedly pledging to not have their children tested for COVID-19 in order to make infection numbers artificially appear lower.
The alleged push to avoid getting kids tested, dubbed the “mom code,” is seen in messages shared on Facebook urging parents to keep their child at home if they show COVID-19 symptoms, but to not get tested.
The messages are reportedly being shared among parents in Utah’s Davis School District, which oversees more than 73,000 students in Davis County, Utah.
“If there is a quarantine with a sports team or with any of the classrooms, they are encouraging each other not to have their children tested,” said Genevra Prothero, a parent in the school district, who fears community spread if the “mom code” is encouraged. “This is a time where we need to really focus on tracing the virus so we can be able to stop the spread.”
State health officials say it’s unknown how many parents are actually taking part in the alleged “mom code,” but warn that those who do could be contributing to the spread of COVID-19.
“Testing is a critical element of our response,” health officials told Good Morning America in a statement, in part. “Identifying cases …is a key strategy to limiting the spread of disease in our communities.”
Davis County currently has more than 8,000 reported cases of COVID-19. The state of Utah has more than 104,000 cases of COVID-19, according to state health data.
The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 8.6 million diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and at least 225,230 deaths.
Emilie Daly, a mother of four young children, is running for the school board in Davis County. She told GMA that while she is not participating in the reported “mom code,” she can understand why some parents would.
“It’s not mandated to get tested, that’s the thing,” she said. “And so we need to remember that it is a choice and you need to make decisions based off of what you feel.”
The Davis School District did not reply to ABC News’ request for comment. ABC News also reached out to some of the parents allegedly involved in the so-called “mom code” and they also did not reply.
Students in the district are currently attending school on a varied, hybrid model of in-person and remote learning, according to the school district’s website.
The school district’s Board of Education last week released its quarantine protocols for students and staff, noting that in the case of a school outbreak, the classroom or school would enter a “14-day quarantine with students moving to remote learning.”
“The longer I am involved in my position as a board member, the more clear it is to me that, regarding the pandemic — there are no easy answers and no answers that are right for everyone,” Board President John Robison said in a statement, in part, announcing the protocols. “What is right for some people is wrong for others.”
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