DCPS changing how district communicates COVID-19 cases to families

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Duval County Public Schools has announced a change in the way families are informed on COVID-19 cases in the classroom.

The district said because of the lack of contact tracing and the number of cases the school has, this change is necessary.

They said the Department of Health has not been able to keep up with the contact tracking case load since school began.

The following steps have been put in place and will continue through mid-September, according to the district.

  • First — Classroom communication Beginning on or before Aug. 25, if a case impacts an elementary school, families of students in the class of the infected individual will receive a letter informing them of the case. The letter will not be a quarantine or “stay-at-home” order. It will simply inform families of the increased possibility that their student may have been in close contact to a presumed positive case of COVID-19.
  • Second – Transition to online if a class has multiple cases Also beginning on or before Aug. 25, the district will transition an elementary class to online learning if two or more cases impact that class within a seven-day period. The duration of online instruction will depend on the timing of the positive case but is expected to last between two and seven days in most cases.

The DOH informed DCPS they have added additional personnel to the district for contact tracing, but it is still not enough due to the high rate of transmission the schools are currently facing.

In order to provide more support to families, the district has set up laptop distribution and hotspot centers around the county in case a class is moved to online instruction.

DCPS also provided five steps families can take if a case is reported in your classroom or school.

  • Be extra attentive to symptoms of COVID-19 in your child. These symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell, fatigue, and headache. If you do see any signs of these symptoms, we recommend that your child stay home from school and seek testing and medical attention immediately.
  • Wear a face covering when in the presence of others at school or elsewhere.
  • Avoid close contact with others when possible, especially with friends and family at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Remind your child to wash their hands and use available hand sanitizer frequently.
  • If you and your child (age 12 and over) have not been vaccinated, please consider doing so as soon as possible. See www.duvalschools.org/vax for COVID-19 vaccine event information.
Bailey Husker

Bailey Husker, Action News Jax

Bailey Husker is a digital content producer and assignment editor for Action News Jax.