Monroe County

Monroe County Fourth Grader Can't Go Back to School Yet Due to COVID-Related Illness

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Zane Wampler is a fourth grader at Plantation Key School in Islamorada, which is now back to in-person classes.

But he’ll have to wait a little longer for face to face instruction.

“Everybody’s in school, and I’m the only one not,” said the nine-year-old.

In July, Zane was diagnosed with multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children also known as MIS-C, an illness associated with COVID-19.

“He had a fever,” said Leah Wampler, Zane’s mother. “In a short amount of time, it went up to 105, over 105, 105.1.”

“His eyes swelled shut, his mouth, and his face,” Wampler said. “His whole body had inflammation.”

Zane spent three weeks in the hospital.

“You never want to be in that situation where you don’t know if you’re going to bring your child home,” the mother said. “It was very scary.”

Wampler says he’s almost back to normal, although symptoms still pop up.

“His organs are finally shrinking back down to the size that they need to be at,” she said.

Despite his progress, Zane can’t go back to school until January.

Zane’s doctors say it’s best to wait, due to flu season and several of his organs being inflamed.

On October 5th, he went from virtual learning to a hospital homebound program where his books and worksheets get sent home.

Zane’s mom, dad, and grandmother are now his teachers.

“They’ll send us home the work, and we will complete it with him,” Leah said. “For three hours out of the week, they’ll be a liaison teacher contacting us answering any questions.”

“It’s hard,” she said. “We both work full time, so trying to juggle that and make sure he doesn’t fall behind.”

In Broward County, if a student tests positive for the virus, they can continue e-learning, but they can’t return to school until they test negative and have quarantined.

As tough as it’s been for her family, Leah says she’s glad children are back in school.

“I think it’s good that kids are back,” Wampler said. “I just hope that people are more aware and educated.”

With schools and businesses reopening, she sends this message to the public— don’t let your guard down.

“Take it very seriously,” Wampler said.

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