ORLANDO, Fla. - While schools handle COVID-19 cases in the classroom, doctors say the state's education leaders need to heed the latest research.
“If we don't do that, the risk is that this virus can spread like wildfire within a school,” said Dr. Candice Jones, an Orlando physician.
Central Florida schools are grappling with how to handle COVID cases in the classroom. Orange County is planning to reopen West Orange High School early after positive cases led to its recent closure. Meanwhile, Brevard County is pivoting students at Enterprise Elementary to online learning for a few days because of positive cases there.
“We look at every situation specifically and we make that decision critically and strategically,” said Dr. Mark W. Mullins, Brevard County Schools Superintendent.
The state's education commissioner, Richard Corcoran, made waves Wednesday with his comments about the Health Department's guidance when it comes to COVID-19 in schools. He said, "the Department of Health, we would say, is too aggressive."
Corcoran gave an example at the news conference about who needed to be quarantined. “They know that Johnny, Billy, Sally, were in the front row, they're the only ones who have to go. The rest, in their assigned seats, were not exposed.”
Brevard County's Superintendent said the State Department of Health has approved their COVID-19 response plan and state education officials have had no issues with it.
“We believe our process is working and we're getting positive feedback from not only our school staff but also our parents. When we contact them and let them know they need to quarantine their student,” Dr. Mullins said.
Brevard County education officials said more than 60 percent of their students are back in the classrooms. They said anyone who had been within six-feet of a COVID-positive patient for more than 15 minutes would be quarantined.
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