JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Off-campus activities are to blame for the 27 cases of COVID-19 reported at Fletcher High School, which caused the school to shut down out of precaution on Thursday, according to Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene.
The cases were reported among students and staff, the district announced during a joint news conference with the Florida Department of Health. Greene said these cases had the potential of impacting 20 percent of the school, which is the requirement put in place by the district that would trigger school closures.
The total impact the new cases will have on the school isn't known at this time, but the health department is conducting a contact tracing investigation, she said.
“When my investigators from for Department of Health call, please be cooperative,” said Pauline Rolle, Interim Director for the Florida Department of Health in Duval County. “It is extremely important that you answer our questions and be truthful with us. That is the only way we are able to help protect the community.”
On Wednesday, the school sent out a letter to parents, students and staff saying students will transition to online instruction starting Thursday, Oct. 15 and will remain learning online until Monday, Oct. 19. This date could be extended, depending on the investigation results, the letter said.
These closures also impacted after school activities, athletics, as well as this week's JV and Varsity football games, the letter said.
Greene is stressing to everyone to remain vigilant; that this pandemic is not over so it's important to practice safety measures, she said.
"I want nothing more than to keep schools open and to be as normal as possible with instruction and the activities that happen at our high schools...," Greene said. "...things we are doing at the school... do them outside the school."
The superintendent said once the contact tracing investigation is over, the distriction will be able to determine how long the school will remain closed.
Both DCPS and the health department asked that if you think you may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 at one of these events, to call the health department at 904-253-1850.