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Fletcher High School temporarily moves to online instruction due to 'multiple COVID-19 cases'

All students will be learning through Duval HomeRoom starting Thursday, Oct. 15 and will continue through Monday, Oct. 19.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Fletcher High School announced Wednesday that it will be temporarily moving all instruction online due to multiple cases of COVID-19.

In a letter to students, parents and staff, the school said all students will be learning through Duval HomeRoom starting Thursday, Oct. 15 and will continue through Monday, Oct. 19.

On Monday, the school will decide if students can return to class or remain virtual.

The school also announced that after school activities, athletics, Wednesday night's JV football game and this week's varsity football game are canceled until further notice.

In the meantime, Fletcher High will undergo a thorough cleaning and disinfecting, and work with the Department of Health to do contact tracing.

Principal Dean Ledford told First Coast News he is being proactive. He made this choice based on an increase in the number of calls he has received from parents of students who believe they have COVID-19.

“They're so supportive of Fletcher High School and they care so much about, not just their student, but the entire school community. That they communicate with us and let us know, 'hey, we have this going on,'" Ledford explained. "And as that increased for me, we had to go ahead and make those tough decisions."

According to Duval County Public Schools, Fletcher High had five cases on the COVID-19 Tracking Dashboard as of Tuesday, but the district has been informed of 16 additional cases that will be included in the count after the Department of Health confirms them.

“The team here is trying to make this as a smooth transition as possible, and at the same time, a very safe transition for our school," the principal said.

Fletcher High School will also do its best to reschedule the JV and varsity football games that had to be canceled this week.

“He just wants to be a senior. He really just wants to enjoy his senior life," Jennifer Baez, mother of Fletcher High senior, explained.

Her son is upset to have another shakeup during his last year of high school, but she said she understands it’s for his safety.

”I do commend principal Ledford for closing down the school as soon as he got wind and realized what was going on," Baez said. "He is taking the right actions, and that's  all we can ask for -- that they're got our kids' best interest at heart.“

What students need to do:

  1. Log into Duval HomeRoom beginning with the first period Thursday, Oct. 15, at 7:15 a.m.

  2. If students need technology to participate in Duval HomeRoom, come to the school Thursday, Oct. 15, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. where the school will conduct “drive-through” technology distribution. There will be no academic penalty if students miss classes Thursday due to a lack of technology.

  3. Students or staff members exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms), contact the school to get rapid testing information.

  4. A student who needs school lunch, curbside grab-and-go meals, service will be available at the school.

  5. Be alert to further instructions for how we will proceed with school following Monday.