MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Miami-Dade County Public Schools have jumped to 105 on Wednesday since students returned to the classroom for in-person learning.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho had said with children returning to school, it was almost inevitable that there would be cases. He said the district and the schools are doing everything they can to keep students safe.
Carvalho said about those testing positive, “I want to be clear. Anyone who had direct contact will be in quarantine for 14 days. They are not cleared to come back to school or work until the Health Department clears them. The swift mitigation procedures that we have taken will reduce the risk of further infection.”
“If you are a parent and your child is exhibiting some symptoms keep them at home and contact your primary care physician,” he said.
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United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats said, “We trust in a system that has not really gained our confidence,” she said. She urged parents and employees to come forward if they knew of cases.
“If you feel you know someone is positive and they are not getting that information out, feel free to contact us. This is a deadly virus and it is invisible. We do not want to be invisible. This is about everyone’s health and safety. To all parents, we urge you to remind your kids that they have to wear masks all the time and too often too many kids are congregating and not keeping their distance from each other. We also need to make sure parents, listen to this. If you have additional supplies, please send them to your teachers. They need disinfectant wipes. They need sprays and they need rubbing alcohol.”
“Unless we all work as a community to mitigate this virus, we will have no choice but to close our doors once again. Governor DeSantis and the Miami-Dade County Public School Board should not have put the community at risk over a threat of defunding our schools. Who threatens to take away safety from children during a public health crisis. Those who put politics over people,” Hernandez-Mats said in a statement.
“This is something that’s very serious. We don’t want you to send your kids if they’re sick to school. We believe that there will probably be more cases in other schools. And so safety is going to be extremely important,” she said.
Carvalho reminds parents to check their children every morning for symptoms and reminds employees to fill out their self-assessment health tests every single day.
The district also has a dashboard where students and parents can track COVID cases at schools.
There is also a statewide dashboard from the Florida Department of Health, but the total number of cases on both dashboards don’t match. According to a Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson, the reason they don’t match is because the schools dashboard only shows the students and employees who are attending in-person classes and not virtual learning, while the state dashboard includes all employees and students, whether they are at home or going to school.
On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Tuesday touted their efforts to reopen classrooms this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeSantis said the “physical, mental and social well-being of our kids required us to provide them with the option of in-person learning.”
A July reopening order issued by Corcoran drew legal challenges from teachers unions, as teachers and other school employees raised concerns about getting infected with COVID-19.
An appeals court sided with Corcoran and DeSantis, who argued that families should be given the option of having their children learn in person or online.
DeSantis made clear he doesn’t want a repeat of the closures.
“Going forward, whatever the future may hold, school closures should be off the table,” he said. “They don’t do anything to mitigate COVID. But they do cause catastrophic damage to the physical, mental, and social well-being of our youth. Let’s not repeat any mistakes of the past.”
(©2020 CBS Local Media. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)