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Gainesville high classroom ordered to quarantine after multiple students test positive

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 11:11 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Based on metrics set by the Scientific Medical Advisory Committee under the Alachua County School District, if three or more people test positive within 14 days in the same classroom everyone is sent home to quarantine. That’s what happened on Wednesday for one class at Gainesville High.

“The interesting thing was is that there were all but 5 of the kids in that classroom had already been quarantined because in some way, shape, or form they already had significant contact with another positive case,” said the school district’s spokesperson, Jackie Johnson. “Whether it was on a sports team, someone in their household, whatever it was. So we had very few students who were affected by this particular closure.”

It’s the first time a Gainesville high class has quarantined under the parameters set by the advisory council who review all district COVID-19 cases daily. Their dashboard reports 17 students are actively positive for the virus and after every positive case, the physical room is closed for 24 hours for cleaning.

“We have the resources here in Alachua county in terms of expertise and testing and contact tracing,” added Johnson.

Although the numbers don’t add up for Gainesville High parent Diedre Houchen who initially started with Digital Academy but transitioned to brick and mortar mid-semester.

“In the last three weeks, it feels like every three or four days I’m getting an email about new cases.”

Houchen said she appreciates the communication from the school’s principal but the rise in cases and issues with Digital Academy leaves her with a tough choice.

“And I realized that I’m not willing to put my family’s life on the table for schooling,” added Houchen. “I’m not willing to do that. So we are, I pulled my son out last Friday. He had a flu shot as well on Monday so I didn’t want his immune system to be compromised by going back to school. And I haven’t sent him back and I don’t plan on it.”

The school district COVID-19 dashboard is updated daily and has guidance for parents on how to screen their student for the virus before sending them to school.

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