Health care providers call for more transparency in COVID-19 case reporting in Nassau County schools

Providers send letter to school board as parents use Facebook group to track cases in classrooms

Some Nassau County parents are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to tracking the number of COVID-19 cases in their children’s classrooms.

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Some Nassau County parents are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to tracking the number of COVID-19 cases in their children’s classrooms.

They’ve created a social media network amongst themselves because case counts aren’t currently being broken down by school in the Nassau County School District. It’s just one of the requests health care providers are demanding in a letter — which News4Jax has obtained — to Nassau County School Board members.

As of Monday, the NCSD Parent Covid Tracking Facebook group had more than 2,000 members. The resource is not run by school officials but instead parents, who’ve also created a form to report a child with COVID-19.

The creators of the group call it a community effort, asking no names to be mentioned but requesting parents report the school, grade and teacher affected by COVID-19.

One parent wrote Sunday: “HES 1st grader, Fever started 8/1. Health department called on 8/5 positive test. Quarantined until 8/13.”

The group is even arming parents with information about possible COVID-19 transmission on the bus.

“Yulee Middle , tested positive. Bus number 418,” another parent wrote.

The Facebook page’s development comes on the heels of a school board meeting in late August when some parents asked that the COVID-19 case numbers provided by the district be broken down by school.

Right now, the school district’s COVID-19 dashboard only lists the number of new COVID-19 cases, along with the number of staff and students quarantined. Superintendent Dr. Kathy Burns said breaking down the cases school by school is an issue of manpower.

“We have one person in prevention and intervention that’s handling this and working until 8 or 9 o’clock every night, so we are looking at every option when it comes to breaking it down by school, but we haven’t gotten there yet,” Burns said last month.

Local health care professionals are also putting pressure on school board members in Nassau County, where students can opt out of the district’s mask mandate, sending each a letter Monday morning, which reads, in part:

“We would like, as other districts have, to propose stricter terms to the mask mandate. The opt-out should be only given to those that have medical conditions that prohibit them from wearing one. Transparency is another issue. If a student or teacher has tested positive, the ENTIRE class should be notified immediately. Parents should have the right to keep their children home if a classmate has Covid.”

News4Jax spoke briefly with school board member Lissa Braddock, who said she has yet to read the letter, citing the Labor Day holiday. She said she and other board members will be unable to comment until the head of the school board also reads the letter and reviews the letter’s requests.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.