JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One student at Twin Lakes Academy Elementary and one staff member at Sandalwood High School have reported they are COVID-positive. In light of these cases, Action News Jax reached out to the Florida Department of Health in Duval County for clarification on these procedures.
Samantha Epstein, Public Health Communications Director for the Florida Department of Health - Duval County, explained the procedure in an email, saying:
If someone tests positive and reaches out to their contacts to let them know, contacts should begin quarantine immediately which includes monitoring for symptoms
Unvaccinated contacts should still quarantine. Vaccinated contacts should monitor for symptoms, but are not required to quarantine
The emergency rule that was signed last Friday gives specifics on the options available to testing related to both vaccinated and unvaccinated contacts and their quarantine periods
Parents should know that no symptomatic children are allowed to be in school. The DCPS staff do a good job of identifying children who come to schools sick to ensure that those children are isolated from others. We are asking any parent that knows that their unvaccinated child is a close contact with an outside exposure (home, etc.) to keep their child at home until infection from exposure can be ruled out.
There’s also an online tool for parents, and everyone, to stay informed on those latest cases.
Duval County Public Schools has an online dashboard showing the number of reported cases of COVID-19, which you can access HERE.
Sonya Duke-Bolden, a spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools, explained how the dashboard works:
The dashboard shows the number of students and staff attending or working in brick-and-mortar schools with reported cases of COVID-19.
- Student cases are reported based on those attending in-person classes, as well as extra-curricular participants.
- All data are provisional and subject to change based on confirmed updates.
- The dashboard will be updated Monday - Friday by 8 PM Cases reported to the district on weekends or holidays will be entered and published on the next day of district operations.
Additionally, schools will send out automated calls to their school communities when they become aware of a possible positive case of COVID-19 on their school’s campus.
We were made aware of an e-mail Principal Deneisetres Robertson of Twin Lakes Academy Elementary sent out to parents, which says:
It will be my goal to keep you updated on the impact of the pandemic in our school this year.
Today, an individual who has been on campus has reported testing positive for COVID-19. We have shared this information with the Department of Health and will assist them as they work to identify anyone who may need to stay home as a result. Anyone impacted will receive personal communication from the Florida Department of Health with further instructions. If you do not receive this communication, your child is not affected by this situation.
Remember that the symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, and other flu-like symptoms. If your child is exhibiting one or more of these symptoms, please keep them home from school and call the school for further guidance. We appreciate your cooperation and as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me through the school with any questions you might have.
On Wednesday morning, Governor Ron DeSantis shared his view on quarantine policies in schools.
“I do not think we should be sending kids home just because they had a brief passing with someone positive in the hallway,” he said. “We trust the school district to do what’s right there and not disrupt education.”
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