ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – More than two dozens students who were supposed to be in COVID-19 quarantine instead showed up to class at Bridgewater Middle School Monday morning due to a communication error.
Dr. Raul Pino, the director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, said the mistake was detected fairly quickly and parents were instructed to come to the school to pick up their children, who were segregated from the rest of the student population in the meantime.
“On Saturday we neglected to forward an email with all the information to the principal of that school with the people who were supposed to be quarantined this morning. Our system works because immediately this morning -- we have a second layer so everyone who gets notified by the school system also gets a call from us the next day in the morning calling to see how the child is but also offer them testing if they want to at our location at Lake Underhill -- so this morning while we were doing that second check, we detected that approximately 20 students that were supposed to be in quarantine did show up for the school because the name of the principal, the email, was not included in the distribution email that goes on there,” Pino said.
He said 26 students were affected in all. He apologized to parents who had to make last-minute arrangements.
“Our apologies to the parents starting the day getting this news, you have to pick up the children. But, the system worked. So we were able to detect this. We will do our best for this not to happen again. Our apologies, just understand there are thousands of cases that we are handling, and this is just a misstep and we hope it doesn’t happen again,” Pino said.
Pino said the Department of Health is still interviewing individuals involved to see if any additional quarantines need to be ordered.
He noted that the rate for students who’ve been ordered to quarantine due to possible COVID-19 exposure who then test positive for the deadly respiratory illness is slim.
“We also have analyzed all the students that we have sent into quarantine mode, our data was recently analyzed last week, and we have seen that our conversion rate is very low. The number of people that convert from negative to positive while they’re in quarantine is very, very low,” Pino said.
According to Orange County Public Schools' coronavirus dashboard, there have been 789 confirmed coronavirus cases associated with the district’s campuses since in-person classes began on Aug. 21. Seven of those cases were reported at Bridgewater Middle School.