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First Coast schools plan how to handle positive COVID-19 cases within the buildings

A student testing positive for COVID 19 on his first day of school in Indiana is raising questions of, how are schools going to react when it happens close to home?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A student testing positive for COVID 19 on his first day of school in Indiana is raising questions of, how First Coast schools are going to react when it happens close to home?

“It’s not a matter of if, but when there are going to be exposers at the school,” said Dr. Mobeen Rathore, infectious disease specialist. “So I think we need to be well prepared for that, how we are going to reveal there is exposure at the school.”

Rathore says schools mirror society—if we’re seeing positive cases rise on the streets, you can expect that to happen in the halls.

Many districts are handling communication differently when it comes to positive cases. There is a chance you may not know if there was a positive case at your child’s school.

“Just so that we’re transparent, you’ll get a letter from the school that says someone in your class has tested positive,” said Kyle Dresback with St Johns County Schools.

Duval County Public Schools says students and staff have a right to privacy, so it will not make any announcements unless instances of COVID-19 impact campus operations.

Clay County School’s plan does not mention if it plans on announcing instances of positive cases to families.

All three schools say they will relay necessary information off to the Department of Health, and the department will start contact tracing and take it from there.

“Then the Department of Health will be following up saying it’s our understanding your child had close personal contact so you need to quarantine,” Dresback said.

St Johns County and DCPS are following guidelines from the CDC to try and minimize how many students will need to quarantine. The CDC says a person should quarantine if they were in contact with someone who tested positive for more than 15 minutes, within 6 feet, and may have come in contact with respiratory droplets.

“That’s why we are requiring masks, that’s why we have the desk shields.”

If a student tests positive, the schools say extra sanitization will be provided in the affected classrooms.

Clay County Schools require a teacher to provide a child with a mask if they are presenting symptoms and need to be sent to the nurse.

Students who quarantine can still resume classes from home either virtually, or in St. Johns County, with packets from the child’s class. The teacher would check up on students through video chat.

All schools require students and staff who test positive to quarantine for two weeks, but St. Johns County does not require a test be presented before returning to school. DCPS and CCSD did not respond if they will require a test or not.

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