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Jacksonville's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Jacksonville, Florida | FirstCoastNews.com

State withholding school COVID-19 numbers is putting distrust in parents, Former Duval County Health Department director says

"Parents have a right to know the environment they are sending their children into,” said Dr. Jeff Goldhagen.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Concern over COVID-19 reporting results has the former director of the Duval County Health Department empathizing with parents.

"Parents have a right to know the environment they are sending their children into,” said Dr. Jeff Goldhagen.

Goldhagen that includes knowing if any students or staff have tested positive for COVID-19. While there are laws shielding the release of people's names, he says reporting results can be done in a way that keeps identities confidential.

"There are not necessarily 'right' decisions or 'wrong' decisions," he told First Coast News. "There are informed decisions. Parents have the need and the right to have the information required to make those informed decisions."

A spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools says the district is working with the state to get permission to post COVID-19 numbers as other Florida school districts have already begun posting their own, including in Volusia County which reversed course and will now post updates twice a week.

DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene says the district currently has about 15 to 17 positive cases.

Goldhagen believes the state health department has an obligation to report those cases to parents and school boards and by not doing so puts counties at greater risk.

"With what we are seeing unfolding, it's impacting us in multiple ways. One of which is it does not engender trust in the health department that in fact, it has our best interest at heart,” Goldhagen said.

DCPS says there is no timeframe when it's dashboard will be up and running.