DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. — Duval County Schools says there will be no immediate changes to the district's COVID-19 protocol following an announcement from the Florida governor that students no longer required to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure.
Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement, which he called "overdue," during a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Kissimmee. He says students who are exposed to COVID-19 in Florida's schools will no longer have to quarantine if they are asymptomatic.
However, the Duval County School district says it's awaiting guidance from county health officials before making any changes. The Florida Department of Health in Duval has reportedly told the school district they are waiting for guidance from the state Department of Health.
"We will work closely with our local Department of Health team and the City of Jacksonville’s Office of General Counsel to determine if this rule has any impact on the district’s procedures or operations," said the district in a statement. "If there are changes, we will inform our families and the media at the appropriate time."
When the school year began, districts required students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom to quarantine for at least four days.
With the new rule, if a student has been exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom, parents will be allowed to decide whether they want their child to quarantine or return to school as long as they do not show symptoms of COVID-19.
The new rule does not affect students who test positive for COVID-19.
DeSantis said difficulties to both students and parents as the reasoning for the new rule. He also cited European studies advising a "symptom-based approach" to quarantine.
"Parents have a right to have their healthy kids in school, and I think the Europeans recognized that," DeSantis said. "Basically, they are treating this as they would treat normal respiratory viruses."
"Schools are not driving this epidemic," the governor added.