As of September 3, Seminole County schools have been open for nine days. So far, seven students, six at the middle high school and one at the elementary school, and three school employees, one at the middle high school and two at the elementary school, have tested positive for COVID-19. The school system followed all the guidance and directives of local and state health departments in each situation, and immediately contacted any persons who had come into contact with a person testing positive for the virus. 165 students who were identified as having direct contact were sent home to be quarantined for 14 days.
Following local and state health department COVID-19 safety guidelines, school officials plan to proceed with in-person instruction, sanitizing classrooms every day and doing temperature checks before students enter the buildings. The school system reports the positive case numbers to the local and state health department each Friday.
The school system continues to ask all parents to stress to their children the importance of wearing masks when social distancing is not possible. This includes always wearing a mask on the bus, during class changes, and in the hallways.
Superintendent Mark Earnest commented, “We continue to ask that you stress the importance of hand washing and keeping hands away from their faces. We have made every effort to reduce the exposure of our teachers and students but are asking you to help us and do your part by working with your children. Also, it is important to screen your children daily before sending them to school. If they are not feeling well or have a fever, please do not send them to school.”
Superintendent Earnest said that unless positive COVID-19 numbers continue to increase the school system plans to continue with its detailed plan for in-person instruction.
Seminole County Elementary Principal Jay Winkler commented, “We are off to a great start! Teachers are teaching and students are learning. We had a few hiccups with virtual students on the first day that we anticipated, but they seem to be working out as we navigate this process.”
Winkler said he is pleased by how many students are wearing masks and so far the elementary school has been blessed with only a few issues from the Coronavirus. The school has staggered lunches and reduced cafeteria populations, staggered recess to reduce students on the playground, and installed air purifiers in the lunchroom and the gymnasium.
Winkler understands that afternoon pick up for third through fifth grades is hectic but he hopes to have that fixed as soon as the shipping containers are moved out after the new stadium lights are installed. When the containers are removed, the school will return to having parents enter across the grassy field to reduce backed up traffic out on the road.
Principal Winkler asked if you drop your child off in the morning, please drop your child off at the appropriate place and do not exit your car unless you need to speak with someone at the school. Parents are asked to not park and walk your child to the front door, as this backs up traffic and creates a safety hazard.
Parents are also reminded that there will be no transportation changes this year. Students will ride the bus assigned to them at the start of the year unless the student moves to a different address.
All early pickups like doctor’s appointments, etc., should be done before 2:40 p.m. Any time after that causes traffic problems because the school will be preparing for and allowing car pickup after that time.
Winkler added, “I can’t get over how polite the students are. They hold the doors for the other students, say yes ma’am and yes sir and seem to have a genuine concern for their fellow students which is a testament to the jobs our parents are doing at home. I am proud to be your child’s principal.”