Parents, teachers share thoughts on DCPS handling of COVID-19 cases

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax is getting you answers after several DCPS parents said they’re not being notified of COVID-19 cases at their kids’ schools like they used to.

The school district tells Action News Jax its notification system has not changed, and that the district began making the school-based calls to parents when school reopened in 2022.

In a board meeting on Monday, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said there are over a thousand cases across the district.

STORY: Jacksonville mayor: Funding to increase capacity at city-run COVID-19 testing sites

The DCPS COVID-19 Dashboard shows a nearly 35 percent seven-day positivity rate.

Parent Evangeline Hooie isn’t too worried.

“It seems like most kids don’t have really bad symptoms,” Hooie said.

DCPS’s dashboard shows three schools with overwhelmingly high infection rates among students and staff so far this school year:

  • Mandarin High School: 108
  • Edward White High School: 95
  • Baldwin Middle-Senior High: 94

Some teachers like Elwood Thompson at Terry Parker High School wish students were required to wear masks.

By law, DCPS cannot make students mask up. However, the district does require teachers, staff, and visitors to wear face coverings.

“I think that’s the best that the district can do because they’re stuck on what the state tells them they can do,” Thompson said.

Thompson has found that about three-quarters of his students voluntarily wear masks.

Like Thompson, Ed Wagner, also a teacher at Terry Parker High School, says about 75-to-80 percent of his students choose to wear masks.

“The kids are doing a pretty good job of wearing the masks,” Wagner explained.

Wagner is glad classes are still open and kids are still learning.

“It’s going frankly better than I thought it would,” Wagner said. “It’s spiking a bit, sure, but it’s not near as bad as the doomsayers envisioned,” he added.

Thompson and Wagner both feel DCPS is doing what it can to keep everyone safe.

Thompson adds that setting good examples starts with parents, teachers, and staff.

“We need to self-police. We need to make sure that the adults are setting the examples for the students,” Thompson explained.

Action News Jax also checked case numbers at other school districts.

LINK: Need a COVID-19 test? These Jacksonville area sites offer free testing

St. Johns County Schools reported a daily number of 329 students with COVID-19, and 100 employees on Tuesday.

The Clay County School District reported 149 students and 16 employees positive with COVID-19 for the week of January 3 to 7.