SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -The principal of Kinnan Elementary said in a newsletter sent out to the school that he was temporarily suspended from because he had violated Manatee County School District’s COVID-19 policy.
In the letter obtained by ABC7 News, Principal Paul Hockenbury wrote he was suspended without pay for five days, which was the school week of August 24th to August 28th. He writes that he came to work two days after being tested for COVID-19 on August 12th. He said he possibly had been exposed to COVID-19 the week before but wasn’t showing any symptoms. New school policy requires all staff to take a daily survey. One of the questions in the survey asks if a person took a COVID-19 test within the past two weeks because they were exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case. If a staff member answers “yes”, then they are required to stay home and contact someone within the district.
In the newsletter, Hockenbury wrote that he received a positive test result on August 16th. On that day, the Manatee County School District notified students and staff about someone at the school testing positive. Manatee County School Board Member, Dr. Scott Hopes, said both staff and students need to follow new COVID-19 procedures and that they were put in place so schools could safely remain open.
”Unless you have had a close relationship or a family member has contracted this and has been in the hospital for a month or died of this it may not be as serious to you as it is in reality. But this is a significant contagion, it’s a significant disease, and we are doing everything we can to ensure to the children of Manatee County can continue their education in the school district,” Dr. Hopes said.
Hockenbury apologized in his letter but said he did not agree with his punishment. Several parents ABC7 spoke with at Kinnan Elementary School also said they did not agree with his punishment.