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Leon County Schools works to streamline COVID-19 notifications

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 17:27:43-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — At the start of the pandemic, Leon County School board leaders said they would communicate information to families for each case reported at a school.

Since then, some schools have sent multiple emails throughout the day regarding COVID-19 cases, something district leaders say is accurate and informative, but causes clutter.

"One of the things that we're trying to do is help streamline communication," said Leon County Spokesperson Chris Petley. "And it helps our school administrators. At the end of the day, they still have to run to school. And what we found is that, in certain schools throughout the district, they were sending out multiple emails per day. So, what we've asked to do is to just send out one email at the end of the day that will list the positive cases at that school campus."

Parents like Sierra Bush Rester say that streamlining is making it harder for her and others to get a clear picture of what's happening at their children's schools.

"Instead of getting emails each time there is a case, the school board is sending out one email each day and they're all using the same language: 'One or more cases have been discovered at the school.' It doesn't say how many cases. They just say one or more, so this could be a number between 10 cases, it could be five cases, it could be two cases," said Rester.

Context others like Oswaldo Hernandez agree helps when making decisions about their children's education.

"It definitely changes the outlook of the data, right? I mean as a parent, there's a difference between hearing that there's one case at my kids school versus hearing 20 cases in a day. That's a huge difference," said Hernandez. "It goes from oh it could have been a kid that my child has zero interaction with, to now it's like 20 cases in the entire school and there's probably a chance my kid had an interaction with them or the teacher had an interaction with them."

District leaders assure that the comprehensive emails leave no case unreported.

"I think what would happen psychologically is, if you receive information from the same source over and over and over you almost start to ignore it a little bit, so if you cut back on the amount of emails you're getting per day and give you one concrete email at the end of the day with information, it's the same amount of information."

Several people like Rester and Hernandez plan to have their comments heard at this evening's school board meeting.

Board members will also discuss vaccination efforts and a lawsuit settlement regarding alleged negligence from an incident that occurred in 2017.