BALDWIN, Fla. – Only two weeks into the school year, Baldwin Middle-Senior High School students moved from the classroom to the internet.
Diane Earrey’s granddaughter is a student. She said she is not surprised students are already moving to remote learning.
“I hate it for them. I wish it did not happen,” said Earrey.
The school moved to virtual learning on Wednesday due to a rise in COVID-19 cases that led to close contacts exceeding the 20% threshold, according to the school district.
As of Wednesday, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, the school had 44 cases -- 42 student cases and two staff cases.
Earrey said her granddaughter is concerned about the number of cases.
“She has been very concerned. She had COVID last year, last school year, so she knows how it is,” said Earrey.
She said her daughter has not been wearing a mask.
“Her parents opted out for her not to wear them, she didn’t want to, but I wish that she would, and when she goes back, I think she definitely will. She does not want to be sick,” Earrey said. “I just hope the school opens back up and that the stats go down.”
Last week, the district announced new criteria for when to switch a school to virtual learning. Terrie Brady, with the Duval Teachers United, said the district has yet to work out an agreement on how these closures should be handled by staff. She said the new criteria doesn’t explain how the schools should close or the working conditions for switching to virtual.
“I believe the preparations were not as extensive and not as thoroughly done as they have been in the past,” Brady said. “An apology needs to be made to the employees.”
The union plans to file a grievance against the district for better criteria for how to properly switch a school to virtual learning.
The district said students shouldn’t come to school between Wednesday and Aug. 31. The district is offering free meals for students every day it’s closed from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and parents or guardians can come to the school to pick up those meals.
RIGHT NOW: Baldwin Middle-Senior High School is passing out free meals for all student until 11:30 am.— Corley Peel (@WJXT_CorleyPeel) August 25, 2021
This comes after the school shifted to remote learning due to COVID-19 impact. @wjxt4 https://t.co/VGB0GRLzbt pic.twitter.com/q54NOAzy0I
Baldwin Middle-Senior High is one of two schools in Duval County to shut down due to coronavirus-related issues two weeks into the school year. On Wednesday, Fletcher Middle School announced it was shifting to online instruction on Thursday and will return to in-person learning on Sept. 2.
On Friday, the district said that it’s no longer doing contact tracing at elementary schools and announced new ways its informing parents about COVID-19 cases and when a school moves to online learning.
Officials said they’re sending letters home to parents when there’s a positive case in the classroom. Starting Wednesday, the district will transition an elementary class to online learning if two or more cases impact that class within a seven-day period. As for middle and high schools, the district said, the principals will continue to make callouts to parents and the health department will determine who needs to quarantine.
The district said more information on contract tracing and notifications can be found on the Health and Safety Section of its back-to-school website.