St. Johns County schools to have 75% capacity in stadiums, continue contact tracing

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County School District has already decided that it will not require temperature checks, desk shields or masks for students this upcoming school year, but it is still planning to have some coronavirus safety protocols in place.

During a school board workshop Tuesday, the district laid out how it plans to guard against the spread of COVID-19 as cases in the county continue to fall.

The district is recommending that the maximum capacity for stadiums, auditoriums, cafeterias and gyms is no more than 75%. That’s up from 50% last year. The district said the superintendent has the ability to go to 100% capacity when possible.

Kyle Dresback, Associate Superintendent for Student Support Services, presents a proposed school reopening plan during a school board workshop. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

Enhanced sanitation practices put in place during the height of the pandemic will continue, the district said.

The district also plans to keep social distancing in place, keep desks 3 or more feet apart and encourage students to eat outside.

Kyle Dresback, associate superintendent for Student Support Services, said during a presentation that the district will continue contact tracing and quarantining for students potentially exposed to the coronavirus and detailed how it will work.

“Even though students may be vaccinated, we still have to report the incident, and then they are able to go into the shot records, which is called Florida SHOTS, and be able to make sure that everybody who is on that list, are they vaccinated?” Dresback said. “If they are, and as long as they’re not showing symptoms, they would be able to return. Everyone else would have to follow whatever the current quarantine protocols are. Currently, they are the 10 days of quarantine unless you get a PCR test on day five, and then it comes back negative, then you can come back on day eight.”

All essential visitors and volunteers will be subject to the health and safety protocols, Dresback said.

A few parents who spoke Tuesday urged the district to reconsider the plans for capacity limits and quarantine protocols, but overall, the school board applauded the plan, which would have to be voted on before it goes into effect.

During the workshop discussion, board members stated that they do not support a districtwide push to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for students or employees.

The school year begins Aug. 16.

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