COVID-19 cases up in NCFL schools

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Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 10:39 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Much like the rest of the state and nation, COVID-19 cases are up in schools in North Central Florida.

As of Jan. 7, Alachua County Public Schools reported 392 student positive cases and 89 positives in staff. Jackie Johnson, public information officer for the district says that due to state laws there is not much that the county can do to stop the spread. Mask are mandated for adults, but optional for children. The omicron surge of COVID is effecting staffing.

“It’s certainly reached the point where its effecting our operations. We have a lot of busses that are late because we have so many drivers who are out due to COVID. We have a lot of teachers out and staff out,” said Johnson.

ACPS will still be offering the vaccine in schools in the county and will start providing tests for staff through a partnership with UF Health.

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“As always vaccinations continue to be our best bet for eliminating or reducing the spread of COVID-19 in school especially with masking and quarantining for students off of the table,” said Johnson.

In Marion County Public Schools 356 students have tested positive and 156 staff have the virus according to the districts weekly COVID-19 report for Jan. 1-7. Gregory Davis, MCPS public information officer, shares that masking is optional for both students and staff and when it comes to knowing when to stay home or go to school the county provides a “decision tree.”

“We’ve posted a COVID-19 learning tree, it’s located on our website under COVID protocols. Pretty much just going over if you follow this one case or following symptoms, this is the way you should go with that branch and so forth just kind of giving a guideline.”

In Columbia County Schools officials say that there are a reported 51 COVID positive students and 35 staff with the virus. The district did have a dashboard to view cases in schools available on their website before the first of the year. According to Judy Tatum, Director of Safe Schools in the county, due to the recent surge the dashboard may be reinstated to help provide transparency to the public.

For public schools in Levy County, 22 students tested positive and 21 staff, that figure comes straight from Superintendent Christopher Cowart. That is less than 1 % and 3% of the total population of students and staff in the county.

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