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St. Johns Co. Schools looks to hire a team of outside nurses to help with contact tracing

The district is looking to hire 10 positions, including a team of six nurses that will help the district complete COVID-19 contact tracing.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Some St. Johns County school parents say they have been left in the dark about being told of timely positive COVID-19 cases in their child's classrooms and they are pushing for changes.

"My challenge to the school board is to please review your internal processes for this data collection," said one mother at Tuesday's school board meeting. 

The board is hearing their concerns and plans to hire several more nurses to do contact tracing.

Another parent voiced her frustration about the time it took to be notified that her son had to be quarantined.  

"My son got quarantined six days after contact and did have it," she said. 

The president of the St. Johns Education Association says there is some nervousness about current policies and the pace of how the district is handling COVID-19 cases.

"They are facing a set of unknowns; how many kids might be in their class that have been exposed and they haven't been able to be contact traced yet," Michelle Dillon told First Coast News.

The district's COVID-19 dashboard, which is updated daily, shows on Tuesday 424 students had COVID, and a little more than 1,000 were in quarantine.

For district staff, 73 tested positive with 35 in quarantine.

Dillon is hopeful the district's desire to hire six nurses brings peace of mind.

"In a normal year, teaching has its stressors. But, this year they are just exacerbated by COVID," Dillon said. "So, I thank our teachers for our resolve. I hear from them on a daily basis and their anxiety and stress level is much hired than usual."

To read more about the role of the additional nurses, click here