DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. — Whether it's in the classroom or just on their laptops, Duval County Public School students start school this Thursday.
Although, parents and teachers are still coming to the On Your Side team with questions about how the district plans to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We expect to maybe see some spikes in cases as schools open," Duval County Health Department Interim Director Dr. Pauline Rolle said during a city council briefing Monday.
The possibility of COVID-19 outbreaks in the classroom is the main worry weighing on some DCPS families.
“Well, I like to find out information ahead of time," grandparent Jana Simons said. "So, what I am concerned about is, first of all, is how will the children then transition to being a student at a brick-and-mortar education to a Duval homeschool education?”
Simons has two grandchildren in DCPS schools and wanted to know more about what contact tracing investigations and quarantine procedures will look like if a case pops up in the schools or classrooms — especially for her elementary-aged grandson who will be doing brick-and-mortar five days a week.
The district has hired temporary nurses for its "COVID-19 Rapid Response Team."
It will work with the Duval County Health Department, Medical Advisory Board which includes four to five pediatric experts to do contact tracing.
The temporary nurses will each help maintain a log for three to five campuses showing students and staff who come into the clinic with COVID-19 symptoms.
Duval County Public Schools said if there is one positive COVID-19 case and two other people in the same classroom with symptoms that classroom will be closed for 14 days for cleaning, while the students quarantine and move to Duval Homeroom.
Otherwise, those students and teachers will have to wait on the contact tracing investigation to be over.
A school can be closed from anywhere to 2-14 days for cleaning and quarantine if the health department believes there is a campus-wide outbreak.
DCPS said it also has an external team of medical experts that are currently creating other criteria it will use before moving a classroom or school into quarantine.
DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene's August Report and the district's website offers more detailed back to school information.