ORLANDO, Fla. – The CDC urged Americans not to travel or have large gatherings for Thanksgiving but many did anyway, so local school districts are urging students to stay home if they tested positive for the coronavirus or if they’re exhibiting symptoms in an effort to prevent a spike in cases.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed education amid the pandemic on Monday at at Boggy Creek Elementary School in Kissimmee saying school closures would be off the table.
Orange County parents received an email, text and voicemail before classes resumed Monday, reminding them of the CDC guidelines.
The message reads, in part:
“...Remember, if you or your child isn’t feeling well, please do not report to school or work. The same caution must be practiced if someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, OR has symptoms and are awaiting the results of a test...”
Similar messages from Seminole and Osceola County schools were also sent to parents and posted on social media.
During the Thanksgiving break, Orange County Public Schools urged parents to report positive cases to the district. However, on Monday morning the district’s dashboard showed only 21 cases, mostly employees, over the past week. The number of cases and active quarantines was noticeably lower than any other week on record.
At Horizon West Middle School in Windermere, students will be returning for the first time in nearly two weeks. The entire school pivoted to LaunchEd on November 17 after several positive cases resulted in hundreds of quarantines.
A deep cleaning was conducted at Horizon West and all Orange County schools while students were on break. The district hopes the cleaning will help after hitting record numbers of cases right before break.
The Orange County school district also said the state health department continued contract tracing for positive cases over the break and issued quarantine letters. The district said it will be updating its dashboard with that information in the coming days.
Some teachers were relieved to hear that distance learning will continue in the state. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran made the announcement that he will soon release another order, keeping distance learning an option through the end of the school year.