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‘His body is just hopeless’: 8-year-old student tests positive for COVID-19

Boy has been having symptoms since Friday when he got home from Jacksonville school, mother says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An 8-year-old boy has tested positive for COVID-19 as Duval County sees a rise in cases.

Zaylin Brown got his test results on Tuesday, and his mother, Zanisha Brown, said he has had symptoms since Friday when he got home from KIPP Bessie Coleman Academy.

The school said that since being back in session it has had three students and three staff test positive for the coronavirus.

Parents were notified this week of three of those cases. The school said two of the cases were not connected, and student cases weren’t contracted at the school.

Though emails were sent to parents about the cases this week, Zaylin’s mother said that was before he tested positive.

“(On Friday,) he came home sick like got a cold, sneezing, all that,” Brown said. “So I’m thinking, you know, the weather changing, he just has a minor cold.”

On Monday, she got an email from the school, saying a student tested positive -- the school’s second student case.

Then, Brown said, she got an email on Tuesday, saying a staff member started feeling sick over the weekend and tested positive on Monday.

After reading the emails, Brown said, she took her son to get tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday and learned he was positive.

“He sneeze, cough all day,” Brown said. “It’s like his body is just hopeless. I’m upset because I was against him going to school anyway.”

She said she sent him back based on a recommendation from the school.

The chief external relations officer for KIPP Jacksonville told News4Jax: “We work with parents on a regular basis to make sure they are comfortable with the educational options available to them. Parents can choose when to send students home or back to school.”

When asked about the cases referenced in the emails, the school said that with two buildings on campus, communication goes to all families, but it cannot release from which grade level or classroom the cases came from because of privacy reasons. The school said it also can’t email families if a staff member tests positive but didn’t come in contact with students.

“I feel like no child should be sick, definitely not with all this going on,” Brown said.

The school was open this week, and News4Jax was told it has mask mandates and table barriers and is being very vigilant about keeping children and staff safe.

Duval County has a 20% threshold for shutting down schools with COVID-19 cases.

KIPP, which is a charter school, said it doesn’t operate based on the 20% threshold, but it bases its decisions on weekly conversations inside the school to determine what’s best for students to do.

With six positive cases this school year, the school said it hopes that number remains that low.


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