OCPS Medical Advisory Committee meets to discuss spread of COVID-19

District officials said 36 students or staff have tested positive for the virus

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Medical Advisory Committee for Orange County Public Schools met on Friday to discuss the current health concerns in the classroom and guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

After a week of face-to-face learning, district officials said 36 students or staff have tested positive for the virus, which has resulted in a total of 117 people who have been advised to quarantine.

So far, eleven schools have had at least one positive case, but Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said there will likely be more.

“We’ve got a couple of questionable,” Jenkins said. “We work with the Florida Department of Health (and) we may have a couple of additional schools impacted sometime (Friday) once they are confirmed.”

After receiving an update on the current situation in schools, committee members worked to answer questions from school board members.

Dr. Michael Muszinski spoke about the decision to ban masks with valves.

“Imagine this, you have a mask on and you breathe in and you take it off and breath out, that’s what an exhalation valve does,” Muszinski said.

Discussions during the meeting also included addressing concerns about adequate cleaning supplies and social distancing measures.

“The general thing is the more distance the better and certainly three feet would be better than one foot or two feet,” Dr. Vincent Hsu said.

The topic of fall sports was also addressed with talks about the possibility of high school football seeing fans in the coming weeks.

“Once we get our arms around the first couple of competitions, then we may very well expand who is actually in the stadium as well,” Jenkins said.

District leaders are expecting to receive a report next week about any changes that should be made to air filtration systems in schools.

The medical advisory committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.

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