JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Duncan U. Fletcher Middle School in Jacksonville Beach has decided to move its classes online due to the large number of students needing to quarantine as a result of active COVID-19 cases, the school announced Wednesday.
According to a message posted on the school’s website, the shift to online instruction will start Thursday and last until Sept. 2.
“The closure also means all extracurricular activities, including athletics and arts events, are suspended during this time,” the message states. “These activities will resume when school returns to normal, in-person instruction on Sept. 2.”
Students will log on to their classes through Microsoft Teams at the normal first period time of 9:30 a.m., the school said.
According to the DCPS COVID-19 dashboard, the school had a total of 36 cases including 35 students and one staff member as of Wednesday night. The school reported three new cases for the day. There were eight cases added a day prior.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many students and teachers are currently in quarantine.
“On behalf of the leadership, teachers and staff at Fletcher Middle, we will continue to work to make the online experience the best it can be and look forward to regathering as a school community on September 2nd,” principal Joe McKenzie said in a message to parents.
The school said that the parents of any students who do not have the requisite equipment for virtual learning to call the school during operating hours on Thursday at (904)247-5929.
The increase in cases is one of the reasons the Duval County School Board on Monday voted to impose a mask mandate for all students who don’t have a note from a doctor.
Lexi Sandven said she is the parent of a Fletcher Middle School student. She hopes the new mandate will help.
“My daughter has told me that school started with a lot of kids wearing masks, and it has waned off since then. And a lot of kids aren’t wearing masks anymore, so I am thankful that they’re going to mandate it again,” she said.
Last week, the district announced it would begin closing elementary school classrooms for two to seven days if there’s more than one positive case in a classroom within a week’s time.
The school becomes the second in Duval County to shut down due to COVID-19 related issues two weeks into the 2021-2022 school year.
On Tuesday, due to the number of positive COVID-19 cases at Baldwin Middle-Senior High School and resulting close-contacts exceeding the 20% threshold, Duval County Public Schools shifted the school to online learning on Wednesday.
There are a total of 1,064 reported COVID-19 cases across Duval County public schools.