BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla. – Two weeks into the school year, some students in the Bradford County School District are in quarantine after learning of positive COVID-19 cases in their schools, several parents told News4Jax.
Last week, the assistant superintendent confirmed there was at least one case at a school but wouldn’t specify which school or if it was a student or staff member who was infected.
Multiple parents at different schools have since told News4Jax their children are in quarantine after the Florida Department of Health in Bradford County told them someone their child had come in contact with tested positive. The district confirmed Friday that someone at Bradford Middle School tested positive and that the Health Department had conducted contact tracing and notifications.
One parent told News4Jax her son was also exposed to COVID-19 at Southside Elementary in Starke.
Another mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, told News4Jax she got a call from the Health Department on Thursday, saying her son came in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 at Bradford Middle.
“I knew eventually it was going to happen,” she said. “I just didn’t know it was going to be this soon.”
She said the health department told her that out of precaution, her son should be quarantined for 14 days. She said the safety precautions and rules following positive cases at the school have been unclear.
“Considering my kid came in direct contact, we all live in the same household and if he does exhibit the symptoms or doesn’t -- but he is asymptomatic -- then why are we taking the precautions of quarantining all of the children to prevent any spread?” the middle school parent said.
Bradford County Schools guidelines state it’s up to the parent to notify the school after being contacted by the Health Department about COVID-19 exposure. News4Jax asked both the district and the health department if that policy carries any risks. We haven’t yet gotten answers from either.
The district’s reopening plan states that students and adults should screen themselves for symptoms before coming to school. Mask wearing is strongly recommended but not required. Buses will have assigned seating and additional spacing where feasible.
“They’re not doing temperature checks, masks aren’t required, which isn’t a huge issue for me, but I’m not really sure what safety procedures they have other than social distancing,” the middle school mom said.
News4Jax also asked the county health department how many calls it has made to parents regarding COVID-19 exposure and what the department thinks about the district’s mask policy.
We also asked the assistant superintendent how many parents have contacted their schools after hearing from the health department and who made the decision to put the responsibility on parents to inform schools of possible COVID-19 exposure.
Once we get those answers, we will update this story.