LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Thousands of Leon County students are preparing to return to class Tuesday, just days after the state reached an all-time high of average coronavirus cases.
Superintendent Rocky Hanna said they're prepared to handle the virus as best as they can, following the protocols approved by the Department of Health last semester.
"We're addressing facts and our facts come straight from the Department of Health," said Hanna. "We've had our plan in place since August. We're not deterring from that plan. We're prepared for the safe return on January the fifth and we'll continue to adjust and move forward in the days and weeks to come."
LCS reports 246 students were either exposed or tested positive for the virus over the holiday break. Currently, 112 still remain in quarantine (about 0.8 percent of the student population) along with 58 teachers (about 1.2 percent).
Bond Community Health CEO Dr. Temple Robinson said these numbers could go up even more in weeks to come.
"I'm almost sure there will be a post-holiday surge," said Dr. Robinson. "All we can do is the best we can do at this point, that is those three W's: Wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance."
Dr. Robinson adds people should also be aware that Influenza B is coming to the area, which is another illness that could spread in schools. She asks parents not to take any chances if their student is displaying any symptoms of the flu or coronavirus.
"I caution people just like I caution my staff, and I'll caution parents: if they think their child is sick," said Dr. Robinson. "If they look like they're trying to get sick, it's going to be hard but please keep your child at home."
The district asks parents to ask and answer the following questions before sending children back to school:
1) Does anyone in your household have any of the COVID-19 symptoms?
2) Within the past 14 days, have you had contact with anyone that you know had COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms?
3) Has anyone in your household tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days?
4) Within the past 14 days, have you been told to isolate/quarantine?
5) Does anyone in your household have a pending COVID-19 test result?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, LCS asks you to contact your student's school before returning to on-campus learning.
Parents can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for any COVID-related questions.