TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Key changes to COVID protocols take effect Wednesday in Leon County Schools with specific regard to masks and quarantining.
Following new emergency orders from Governor Ron Desantis, the district recently updated its COVID plan. Previously, Leon County students who tested positive were required to quarantine for 10 days and return on the 11th day.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Alan Cox points to two new options parents have to get their children back in class.
"Now they can get a negative PCR. We're using PCR, so a negative test brings them back," Cox said. "The third way they can come back is with a doctor's note. It's an MD, an OD, and nurse practitioner is accepted as well."
There are also new rules for asymptomatic students who were exposed to a positive COVID case being able to return from quarantine.
"The new emergency rule here is that they're out seven days, but if they put a mask on they can come to class," Cox adds.
Additionally, Superintendent Rocky Hanna announced Monday that the district would extend its current mask mandate through at least the end of October, or until cases reach reasonably low levels.
"For explanation purposes, if I see those numbers that are in the single digits, meaning district wide single digits like we experienced at the end of last year, I think would be the right time to act," Hanna said.
Many parents still push back on the mask requirements, but at least one student says she feels more safe having them in place.
"It makes me feel better and more secure knowing that I can go to school and not have to worry about getting sick myself, but I also worry about my family and friends," said Sail High School student Claire Espinosa.
The board also heard a brief update from Safety and Security Manager John Hunkiar about the recent incidents of guns in schools. There have been five such incidents since last year.
Hunkiar plans to bring a fully detailed report before the board next month in compliance with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act.