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COVID-19 outbreak hits Atlantic Coast High cheer squad

Six members test positive; team told to undergo coronavirus testing & quarantine

Atlantic Coast High School
Atlantic Coast High School

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A familiar notification email disclosing positive COVID-19 tests within a school community dropped into the inboxes of the Atlantic Coast High School cheer squad Sunday night.

The email, sent by faculty sponsor Christin Norris, said that a total of six positive cases of the virus had been identified within the team and that a planned choreography session would be rescheduled after the school year begins.

“Please continue to be cautious and have your cheerleader quarantine, as necessary, following the CDC guidelines,” Norris’ email said. “I ask that you continue to communicate with me any more positive cases or exposures as our team safety is a priority, with our close contact sport.”

Five days earlier, the team received an email with “Quarantine Precaution” in the subject line, letting the group know that the first COVID-19 case had been identified and requesting that the team members who had attended that morning’s conditioning session be tested and quarantine as a precaution.

“Although the ‘door has opened all the way back up’ so to speak, with regulations at school and extracurriculars, it is imperative that we stay vigilant in communicating illness and other exposures,” Norris’ July 20 email said.

A familiar notification email disclosing positive COVID-19 tests within a school community dropped into the inboxes of the Atlantic Coast High School cheer squad Sunday night.
A familiar notification email disclosing positive COVID-19 tests within a school community dropped into the inboxes of the Atlantic Coast High School cheer squad Sunday night.

A family member of a cheerleader spoke to News4Jax under the condition that their identity not be revealed.

“I was really upset because they are still actively at the school with no mask, interacting with other people, and they can continue to spread it. They’re not quarantined,” the family member said.

The emails came just days ahead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updating its recommendations on the use of face masks, again recommending that they be worn by all students, staff, faculty and visitors in schools -- regardless of their vaccination status.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools said the district will take the new CDC guidance into consideration ahead of the new school year, which begins for students on Aug. 10.

“The district is in consultation with the Florida Department of Health-Duval this week to review the new guidance from the CDC and discuss health and safety guidelines going into the new school year,” the district’s statement said.

That statement replaced the district’s previous announcement on its Back To School webpage, which said that masks would not be required, but strongly recommended.

The Duval County School Board was scheduled to convene Wednesday at 3 p.m. for a workshop meeting and then at 5:05 p.m. for a budget discussion.


About the Author:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.