BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – An unknown number of children are quarantining after an outbreak of COVID-19 at a summer camp at Viera Elementary, and 11 cases have been confirmed, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.
Brevard Public Schools spokesman Russell Bruhn said the camp has not closed but he did not have numbers for how many students were quarantined. Bruhn said the district would be meeting with Florida Department of Health officials to discuss plans to further contain the spread of the virus.
Jabari Hosey, father of two students in the Viera program, said one child came down with symptoms Sunday night and has since tested positive for the virus. His other child was sent home Monday with letters from the Florida Department of Health and Brevard Public Schools informing him that someone in his child’s class had tested positive for the virus.
Brevard Public Schools published a twice-weekly COVID-19 dashboard throughout the school year but has stopped producing the reports. The Florida Department of Health has also stopped releasing data specific to schools.
Children under 12 are not yet eligible to receive any COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 cases have surged in Florida in recent weeks, a development many experts say could be related to the more contagious delta variant of the virus that has been spreading around the country. Its spread has reignited debates about school reopening plans, including mask requirements.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidance Monday recommending universal masking in schools for anyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend masks for anyone without a COVID-19 vaccine in schools.
The Brevard School Board voted to make masks optional after the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year at a May meeting. Criticism of mask requirements has dominated the public comment session at school board meetings, with the conservative parent group Moms for Liberty leading the charge.
Parents against masks have insisted that they cause a variety of adverse physical and mental health effects in children, while others have argued that masks are safe and necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
Hosey said when he took his student to be tested, he saw three other students waiting at the site. He thinks about 100 students attend the camp.
Hosey said the situation at Viera Elementary worries him because his son always wore a mask. His children each had a COVID-19 exposure scare during the school year, but this is the first time any have tested positive.
“This is very concerning with the removal of the mask mandate since summer camp doesn’t have nearly the amount of staff and students as the fall did, and we couldn’t make it safely for two months,” Hosey said.