Dade Teachers Union Says They've 'Identified Six Schools With COVID Positive Cases'By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Public Schools has confirmed Thursday night there are multiple cases of COVID in the district. This comes after a student at William H. Lehman Elementary in Kendall tested positive, according to the MDCPS coronavirus dashboard.

That student will remain at home until he can return to class, according to the Miami-Dade school district.

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Officials said those who came in contact with the student have been notified and will also remain home until they can return to class.

The school board is reminding parents and students, “We require anyone who is feeling ill to remain home to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our school community.”

Miami-Dade schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho said, “I can confirm that this child did not contact the coronavirus at school. I can confirm through the health department that nonetheless the child did have contact with some of his colleagues.”

“We have asked all individuals who have had direct contact with the child to self-quarantine and be tested and be tested and remain at home until cleared to return to school.”

The school is located in the 10900 block of SW 113th Street.

In a statement, United Teachers of Dade said a second positive case was at Downtown Doral Charter.

“UTD has been made aware of two school-related COVID cases today in Miami-Dade County, which include Downtown Doral Charter and William Lehman Elementary, which is why UTD was concerned about the rush to reopen schools. We cannot underscore enough how serious and indiscriminate this virus is and how rapidly it can spread regardless of school or class size.”

UTD later told CBS4 that they “identified six schools with COVID positive cases, possibly a seventh.”

The school district has not given a specific number of cases. The union said the discrepancy in known cases is because the MDCPS waits for the health department to make it “official” before they announce it.

The teachers’ union asked that people continue taking every precaution possible, “including monitoring their family’s health closely, limiting the number of interactions they have with others outside of their home, keeping children home if they are sick.”

“By working together we can all stay safe and continue working towards giving our children the learning experience they deserve.”

CBS4’s Peter D’Oench spoke with parents and loved ones as they picked up their children.

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Some were concerned, others are not, saying they expected this to happen and feel precautions are being taken.

Xiomara Rodriguez says she’s worried about her daughter’s safety after the Florida Health Department said a student at William Lehman Elementary had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“My first concern is that it will spread and other kids will get sick as well,” said Rodriguez.

Other parents and relatives say they are not worried.

Roxan Markovic said, “I know my kids are healthy and immune to it and they are taking vitamins and get good rest at night.”

“I’m hoping the school took precautions, so it doesn’t go beyond one child. But it’s expected. It’s a pandemic,” said Mayra Rosario, a student’s aunt.

“Miami-Dade schools say even though the student’s movements were very limited, the entire school was sanitized and parents and employees were all notified,” Carvalho said.

“My advice to parents is to make sure to check to see if there are any signs of symptoms in your children and you are doing temperature checks… And you are trying to observe who they are around and if those people have gotten in contact with someone with COVID,” said Karla Hernández-Mats, President of the United Teachers of Dade.

“So please make sure that you wash your hands and please make sure you send your kids with disinfectant and Clorox wipes.”

The cases are reported in this first week of students returning to school.

“This is something very serious and we don’t want you to send your kids if they are sick to school. We believe there are going to be more cases in other schools, so safety is going to be extremely important.”

“School employees are required to complete a health screening at home every day. Parents are reminded to go through a checklist every morning at home for their children. And if they are ill, they should stay home until they recover. For more information, they can go to reopening.Dadeschools.Net,” said Carvalho.

Miami-Dade public schools district has set up a dashboard so parents can what’s being done to make their children’s school safe. The dashboard will also track any reported cases of coronavirus in employees or students.

Students in Broward will begin their staggered return beginning this Friday, October 9th.

During a tour of a school in Hollywood on Wednesday, Superintendent Robert Runcie acknowledged that school buildings will never be 100 percent COVID free.

For now, among the safety measures in place are socially distanced seating in classrooms and cafeterias, staggered times to change classes, new signs and decals, and plenty of cleaning supplies.

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The district also has a dashboard where students and parents can track COVID cases at schools.

Peter D'Oench