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Student athlete challenges mandatory quarantine in court

Posted at 7:58 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 19:58:50-05

BEMUS POINT, N.Y. (WKBW) — A student athlete in Chautauqua County got a lesson in the law by challenging a mandatory quarantine order, after the Chautauqua County Health Department says he was in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

“That’s an official order that you must quarantine for 14 days that you last had contact with the person who tested positive,” said Chautauqua County Health Commissioner Christine Schuyler.

It’s the first time anyone in Chautauqua County has challenged the public health order, something many people may not know they have a legal right to do.

“That means you can request a hearing in front of a judge to have that order reviewed,” she said.

Last Monday, contact tracers in the Bemus Point Central School District determined two students and five faculty from the high school, 13 elementary staff and 13 students needed to be in mandatory quarantine after a positive case.

The public defender for the student says the student was identified as a person who had close contact with the individual who tested positive.

According to the health department, close contact is identified as anyone who came within six feet of someone with COVID-19 for 10 minutes or longer, regardless of whether the positive person was wearing a mask.

Attorney Nathanial Barone is representing the student. He says the teen was never exposed to the infected individual for more than five minutes, and says they were both distant and masked.

Barone says the student athlete has always been in compliance with the quarantine order, but isn’t due to come out of quarantine until the last game of the year, and wanted the opportunity to challenge the order.

A Chautauqua County judge heard the case Monday, and ruled the student must stay in quarantine.