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Duval County mom notified 6 days after child exposed to COVID-19 at school

Family asked by Florida Department of Health to quarantine child for 14 days

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mother of a Duval County Public Schools student received a letter Tuesday from the local office of the Florida Department of Health, saying her child had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

While the letter was dated and received on Sep. 1, the parent, who asked to remain anonymous, said she later found out from the listed epidemiologist that the contact at Pine Estates Elementary School happened on Aug. 26.

This photo shows the letter a Duval County family received, notifying them that their elementary student had been in contact with a positive case of COVID-19. Photo as taken Sept. 2, 2020.
This photo shows the letter a Duval County family received, notifying them that their elementary student had been in contact with a positive case of COVID-19. Photo as taken Sept. 2, 2020. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

“I’ve been around my aunts, my mother, and I’m just like, ’this is a lot of people that I’ve potentially exposed,’” said the parent. “If I would have known, we would have just stayed in the house and I wouldn’t have seen my mom this weekend.”

The letter adds that the quarantine period will end after Sept. 9 and that if the child has not developed symptoms of COVID-19 by then, they can return to class on Sept. 10. If the child does develop symptoms in that time, the letter suggests the child be tested for the virus.

The mother said she also received a robocall from the health department Tuesday afternoon, again notifying her about her child’s exposure.

“When the Department of Health receives notification that a person has tested positive for COVID-19, the Department conducts an extensive epidemiological investigation to identify individuals who may have had close contact with the virus,” a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health said via email. “Those individuals are then notified by their county health department and instructed to self-isolate for 14 days after their exposure to the virus, and to contact their county health department and health care provider immediately if they develop symptoms. This process is followed for all individuals who test positive in Florida.”

Likewise, the Duval County Public Schools website lays out its process for working with the health department to notify families of any exposure on its campuses.

“The district will work with the Department of Health to communicate personally with families whose students need to quarantine as a result of a COVID-19 impact,” the DCPS website said. “Additionally, the school will send out a robo call to parents with a general notification if a positive case impacts other students at the school.”

The district says a robocall will only be made if the positive case impacts other students at the same school.

The district said its rapid response team of nurses works under the DOH to perform the contact tracing.

The unnamed parent told News4Jax Wednesday that her child is suffering from a headache and she’ll be taking her to be tested immediately.


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