MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - School districts across the Suncoast are making changes to protocol after nearly 100 people in Manatee County were sent home to quarantine for being exposed to COVID-19 at Palmetto High School. This measure was taken after a teacher learned she was positive for coronavirus, but had taught all six of her classes the week before.
“The kids who came in contact with the teacher, if both were wearing masks, then I don’t understand why we’re quarantining so many. If we’re taking these precautions that are supposed to prevent us from having to do this,” Jeni Scheid, a parent at Palmetto High School, questioned.
Scheid had the same concerns many parents had yesterday when receiving the news.
“As a parent, you are always worried, but with my child being old enough and in high school, he knows how to keep himself safe and what the rules are and what needs to be done,” Mary Nelson, parent at Palmetto High School, tells ABC7.
However, The Manatee County School Board says, unfortunately, that was not what happened. Those classrooms were not following the policies in place, so all six of that teacher’s classes had to be put under a 14-day quarantine – as an abundance of caution - because they could not identify or rule out anyone from not being exposed.
“This is opportunity to truly understand, through the root-cause analysis, what went wrong. It’s a time to kind of like regroup and refocus, and get mentally prepared to come back to the new normal. This is the new normal the masks, the social distancing, eating lunch separated from one another. If we do that, we’ll be able to maintain learning and keep schools open throughout Manatee County,” explained Epidemiologist and Manatee County School Board Member, Dr. Scott Hopes.
Dr. Hopes says now, the Manatee County School District is making sure all schools are implementing the guidelines they worked hard all summer putting together. Those who were on campus today, can attest to that.
“Palmetto is doing all that they can I think to keep us safe. They’re cleaning the desks, the laptops. They’re taking our temperatures. Yesterday and today, they started putting out papers and you had to say where you were, so they can mark us and make sure we were all six feet apart,” said Madison Scheid, a 9th grader at Palmetto High School.
Plus, the district says schools will have even stricter social distancing regulations and those seating charts will be stored digitally for contact tracing.
Sarasota County is also making some changes to make sure parents are aware of all the details during this new normal.
“We are creating a data dashboard that we are putting up on our website. We will keep that updated, if not daily, definitely weekly,” said Dr. Brennen Asplen, the Superintendent for Sarasota Schools.
The COVID-19 dashboard for Sarasota County Schools is expected to be up by the beginning of next week. It’ll have the number of cases at each school, and how many students and teachers are quarantined.