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'We know this did not have to happen' || Immunocompromised Knox Co. student denied virtual school until he caught COVID

April Tipton said her second-grader was denied virtual learning 3 times since July. It was granted only after he tested positive for COVID and developed symptoms.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Back in July, 10News spoke with a mother who tried desperately to convince Knox County Schools to allow her immunocompromised son to learn remotely amid rising COVID-19 infections. Her pleas were finally answered  -- but only after her second-grader caught COVID-19.

April Tipton said she begged district leaders to move her son Colton to virtual school, which she said ended up in rejection three different times.

"If you're going to force me to send them to school, then you need to at least give me an option to do it safely so they still have a learning opportunity," Tipton said.

Colton is now battling COVID-19, and Tipton said his condition is worsening. She's now hoping his infection doesn't get any worse, saying the family is waiting for a call from doctors on whether he will need emergency care. 

"He woke up with a fever of 102.1 with coughing, sneezing, runny nose. During that night, he had a seizure... his oxygen level dropped down to 85," Tipton said.

We first spoke with Tipton in July before school started when she first asked KCS to let her child learn virtually.

"As a parent, it's not fair for me to have to send my child to somewhere that is supposed to be safe. And now I'm worried am I sending them to a place where they're going to catch a potentially deadly virus?" she said in July. 

Fast forward more than a month later, and her son was finally allowed into virtual learning -- but only after he caught the virus. 

"That feeling was one of fear, anger, disappointment. And because we know that this did not have to happen," she said.

She said every child has a right to receive an education in a safe environment, which she feels KCS has not provided given the current circumstances with COVID-19 in schools.

"It is unfathomable to me as to how you could turn a blind eye to this situation, not want to offer everyone an education, and want to do it safely," she said.

Tipton is now advocating for more prevention measures and options for learning so other parents don't find themselves in her shoes.

"There are parents out there that have children with cancer that are not being afforded the same opportunities, heart problems, cancer, diabetes, all high-risk children still being denied,” she said.