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Mother of kindergartener with COVID-19 calls for more transparency in case reporting

Charter schools are not included in Duval County school district’s online COVID-19 case dashboard

COVID-19 cases among the majority of Duval County Public Schools students and staff are reported online through the school district’s dashboard, but charter schools are not included. Now, some parents are calling for more transparency.
COVID-19 cases among the majority of Duval County Public Schools students and staff are reported online through the school district’s dashboard, but charter schools are not included. Now, some parents are calling for more transparency.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – COVID-19 cases among the majority of Duval County Public Schools students and staff are reported online through the school district’s dashboard, but charter schools are not included. Now, some parents are calling for more transparency.

One of those parents is Sherry Mohamed, whose daughter, Gabby, started kindergarten at the Seacoast Charter Academy on Aug. 10.

On Thursday, she said, she learned another student in the same grade tested positive for COVID-19, but she was not notified by the school. The next day, her daughter started not feeling well.

“She just had a stuffy nose and a really bad cough, and then on Friday, she was complaining about her ear hurting,” Mohamed said.

Mohamed said she took her daughter to the doctor and the 5-year-old tested positive for COVID-19.

“When I found out, I was just shocked,” Mohamed said.

But the family told News4Jax that they are more shocked about how the school district is handling the pandemic. Students and staff aren’t required to wear masks at Seacoast Charter Academy, and Mohamed said many don’t.

“I feel like they’re not protecting her. I think masks should be mandated. They should be doing testing. This thing is bad, and it’s killing people every day,” said Melody Forman, the 5-year-old’s grandmother. “It’s out there. It’s a disease out there, and it’s dangerous, and we don’t want our child to wind up at the hospital on a ventilator.”

The family said administrators are not notifying parents about cases across the school.

Right now, COVID-19 cases among students and staff at charter schools are also not listed on the DCPS online dashboard. When News4Jax asked the district why last September, it said it was because of “incompatible data systems.” DCPS went on to say: “Charter schools are free to do whatever is in the best interest of their school communities with respect to sharing impact data.”

News4Jax reached out to the Seacoast Charter Academy. The school responded, saying it follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol and that the principal would get back to us.


About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.