Action News Jax investigates how school districts will handle positive COVID-19 cases

Back-to-school guidance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax investigates what local school districts are doing to track positive COVID-19 cases once school gets back in session.

The state Department of Education put out guidance for local school districts. The 143-page plan also includes considerations for contact tracing, isolating and how to respond to a confirmed case.

In Clay County, a spokesperson told Action News Jax the Clay County Department of Health “does not track if a case is currently enrolled and attending school. DOH-Clay does contact tracing for 14 days prior to the testing. The District is looking into tracking the data by school and other metrics.”

Content Continues Below

In Duval County, Action News Jax has learned the local Department of Health office of epidemiology “will be tracking the number of positive COVID-19 tests among students and staff once the school year begins.”

Duval County Public Schools said it will keep a running list of schools with positive tests and how many. The district said if a student or staff member tests positive it will notify the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Epidemiology and follow their direction regarding reporting and controlling the virus, suspected or detected, within the school community.

The Florida Department of Education released a graph showing how districts should consider contact tracing.

Starting on one column of the graph with “designating a safe place to isolate” and on the other identifying each student and staffer’s contacts.

Joan Green said it would give her peace of mind to know coronavirus is being tracked inside schools.

“If my child gets ill, I need to know it’s not just a cold or maybe I need to take them to be checked to see if they have COVID-19. So, it does need to be tracked just like the measles, mumps, and chickenpox,” said Green.

According to the Dept. of Education’s reopening guidelines, if a confirmed case has entered a school, regardless of community transmission, any school in any community might need to implement short-term closure procedures.

However, the closures will be up to local leadership.