JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools is taking substantial steps to guard against the potential spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene directed the district to take precautions including school cleanings and restrictions to school-sponsored travel for students and staff.
Beginning Wednesday, the district will begin sanitizing and disinfecting each of the 195 schools using Center for Biocide Chemistries approved viral disinfectants. All schools will be treated between Wednesday and the end of spring break, March 15, the district said.
Among other changes, the district will request all parents and guardians call their school if people in their home have traveled to areas that the CDC has deemed to be high-risk for widespread sustained transmission of the virus. The district will then determine if those children can return to school.
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Any new families coming back from high-risk areas are also requested to call the school for instructions prior to registration.
Bulk hand sanitizer is being distributed to all schools, the district said, and schools have been advised to keep plenty of soap and paper towels on hand.
Any school-sponsored or district-sponsored travel to high-risk areas will be canceled and the district said it will try to get refunds for those affected.
All in-state travel and trips requiring air travel, events held in closed spaces, or events with 1,000 or more participants will be carefully considered on an individual basis, the district said. Students and employees who are ill will not be permitted to travel.
Both students and employees with exposure to others with the coronavirus will be expected to self-isolate as recommended by the Florida Department of Health, the district said.
“Students in self isolation will be provided work from the school for a home option,” said Dr. Diana Greene, the school superintendent.
The home option allows students to either keep up with their studies and homework online or have their study materials mailed to them. School employees in self-isolation will have to adhere to district sick-leave policies.
Students with documented immune deficiencies who have been recommended to refrain from attending school will be provided a home health plan that allows them to receive their lessons and homework.
Children that move to Duval County from high-risk countries will now have to undergo evaluation before they can enroll for school.
“Staff from the District Parent Resource Center will support families with enrollment after consultation with staff from the district health department,” Green said.
The school district said it is working with Florida High School Athletic Association to figure out how to handle regional and state athletic events and will update schools when a plan is settled.
The district has also created a special webpage — Duvalschools.org/coronavirus — to keep parents and students aware of operational decisions and impacts associated with the coronavirus.
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