COVID-19: Saskatoon kids mistakenly told to isolate after vacation

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COVID-19: Saskatoon kids mistakenly told to isolate after vacation
WATCH: A Saskatoon family who recently returned from Mexico was mistakenly told their kids would have to isolate for two weeks upon return – Jan 14, 2022

A Saskatoon man says his children, ages six and nine, who are both fully vaccinated against COVID-19, were incorrectly told to isolate for two weeks when returning home from vacation.

Ahead of a family trip to Mexico over the holidays, Blaire Hornung tried to have all his ducks in a row for an efficient cross-border travel experience, especially for his two children. He reached out to the Canadian Border Service Agency when the ArriveCan app would not accept the kids’ vaccination certificates.

“I talked to a gentleman and he said it would be alright, if we can’t put the children’s vaccination proof on the app, I could use an alternate proof, so that’s what I did,” said Hornung.

But when the family returned from their trip to the Saskatoon airport on Jan. 7, dealing with Border Services officers wasn’t so straightforward.

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“I showed her one of my kid’s proofs through the Sask vax app and she said she wasn’t sure and asked the guy beside her. And then she said ‘well I have to give you the one and eight-day test through Canadian Health and you’ll have to test your kids on day one and eight, and they’ll have to isolate for two weeks.'”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 border testing rules prove challenge for travellers'
COVID-19 border testing rules prove challenge for travellers

In the following days, Hornung tried to get clarity on isolation measures for fully vaccinated travelers under the age of 12 but could only find information on unvaccinated kids.

“It’s very confusing because you can’t get ahold of anybody. There’s nobody you can contact at Canadian Health. If you call anyone on the ArriveCan App they’re speaking from a script. They can’t actually make any decisions.”

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Global News reached out to the federal health minister’s office for clarification on the issue but they weren’t available to comment by publication deadline. However, they pointed to federal guidance showing even unvaccinated children can be exempt from quarantine if they travel with a fully vaccinated guardian.

Thursday though, the family got the answer they were looking for. After six days of isolation and three missed days of school, the CBSA finally cleared the kids who are in fact exempt from quarantine.

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“A lot of the people that I finally could talk to, I actually knew more information than they did and it made me really frustrated. I was doing my due diligence and trying to check things off before we even went. We had all the boxes checked off and yet when we came home we had to deal with what we are dealing with now.”

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Hornung was asked why he risked dealing with travel difficulties during the pandemic.

“Because we were told we could. We were told it wasn’t illegal. We were told if we follow all the right things that we could travel so it was time for us to travel. We wanted to travel. We wanted to get away during the break.”

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