JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Three hundred-thirty Duval County Public Schools students and staff have needed to quarantine since school started three weeks ago, according to public records requested by the Times-Union.
That number is a result of the 33 COVID-19 cases district-wide that have been reported since the first day of school, Aug. 20. As of Wednesday, the district's online dashboard tracking COVID-19 cases said 28 schools were impacted.
The school district projected about 111,000 students this school year and said last week that 26,709 of them are enrolled in Duval HomeRoom, the school's virtual option.
By now, school districts across Florida have started the 2020-21 school year, but the way they report COVID-19 cases and related quarantine numbers vary.
In Florida's Treasure Coast region, Indian River County and St. Lucie County public schools — both in their third weeks of school — have sent 146 students and 290 students and staff, respectively, to quarantine, TC Palm reported. In Martin County Public Schools, which is in its fifth week of school, 428 students and 29 staff have been told to quarantine from 10 schools.
Quarantine orders in Duval schools depend on who was potentially exposed to COVID-19 and for how long. Contact tracing is performed by the Florida Department of Health and school nurses, which work on a line list of people who came in contact with the virus, Director of School Health Services Elizabeth Trisotto said.
Students or staff the department of health and school district determine need to quarantine are notified directly through a robocall, the district said. Ordered quarantine periods typically last 14 days, but that guidance is based on what the Florida Department of Health advises.
The majority of confirmed school-related cases have been at elementary schools, according to the school district's dashboard, which is updated nightly. Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Diana Greene said at a news conference that elementary school COVID-19 situations are easier to control and contact trace since students are in the same cohort most of the day, if not all day.