ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The superintendent of St. Johns County schools said Thursday he’s concerned about the increase in the number of students infected with COVID-19.
Forson said at this point there are no schools nearing any kind of threshold to be closed, but overall, he does not like the latest numbers.
A report from the district Wednesday shows 15 schools have recorded student infections that are in the double digits. Freedom Crossing and Mill Creek each have the most positive cases at 27 each.
In total, 384 students in St. Johns County have tested positive during the first week of classes and nearly 1,400 are now in quarantine.
One of the most frequently asked questions as the number of cases rises is — at what point does he decide to close a school?
“A lot of folks they want to know is there a number, is there a benchmark, or a number by which that happens? And it’s really if we do our work and do it well, it’s not that simple,” superintendent Tim Forson told News4Jax. “Because in a classroom, for us, we could have two children that test positive. But if we contact trace those situations and those cases and they were unrelated completely to school and the risk at school didn’t happen, the transmission didn’t happen at school, then it’s not like we would do that.”
Forson addressed concerns about social distancing and the lack of desk shields in classrooms this year after the district chose to do away with them.
“In aligning with parents’ choice and parent decision making, the shields are a decision that mom or dad can make as well. So if they would like their son or daughter to have a shield at their desk they can do that,” Forson said. “If they don’t want that then we don’t require that. Now, we also have in some classrooms where teachers may choose to use shields because of small group instructions or because of lab work or things of that nature that they feel it would be effective to have that in place so the answer is not the same in every situation.”
News4Jax also asked Forson why he decided to require school employees to wear masks for the next 30 days.
He said parents have told him if a teacher is wearing one their child is more likely to do the same.