Since this spring, we’ve been tracking local news on COVID-19 so that you and your family stay aware and healthy. We hope that you have been holding up well as schools have reopened and started for the fall semester. Unfortunately, we are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases in Polk County schools. Here’s what we know and what you can do to help.
Current Cases in Polk County Schools
So far there have been 109 total COVID-19 cases reported in Polk County Public Schools (PCPS). There have been cases from at least two different schools each day since September 2. 51 elementary, middle, and high schools have all reported cases.
29 cases were reported in August although classes only started on August 24. That means the majority have been reported since the start of September. The highest number of cases have been at Harrison School for the Arts in Lakeland, where 16 cases have been reported. Garner Elementary School in Winter Haven has the second highest amount with 8.
What the Schools Are Doing to Reduce COVID-19 Cases
Students and staff are required to wear face coverings in classrooms, common areas, and school buses. Social distancing is being enforced in cafeterias and other high traffic areas as well. High touch areas will be sanitized more often to avoid infection.
If a case is confirmed at a school, an automated message is sent out to the parents and employees of that school. The identity of those who tested positive is kept confidential, so schools don’t violate HIPAA. If someone has been in close contact with an infected person, the school contacts them personally to discuss how long they should self-quarantine. If a student tests positive or is told to self-quarantine, they are able to virtually attend school instead.
Students and staff members of Polk County Public Schools receive priority COVID-19 testing from the Florida Department of Health. This helps to speed up testing and hopefully it will reduce the impact of positive cases.
Symptoms of COVID-19 in Children
According to the CDC, children may feel the effects of coronavirus less severely than adults. The symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of taste and smell, difficulty breathing, poor appetite, and more. Find a complete list from the CDC here.
Your child may experience many of the symptoms, or none at all. However, the problem is that they can still carry the virus and can give it to adults. This is why it’s important to track if they’ve been in contact with anyone positive at school.
What to Do If Your Child May Have COVID-19
It’s recommended that you have your child tested for COVID-19. As stated above, they will have priority access to testing if they attend a Polk County Public School. If they show no symptoms and their test comes back negative, they can return to school, according to the CDC. When they test negative but they are experiencing similar symptoms, the CDC recommends staying home from school until symptoms subside.
If your child tests positive, please don’t send them to school! They will need to follow CDC guidelines and quarantine at home for at least 14 days. All family members should stay home as well, but away from the child. Your doctor can advise you on specific actions to take.
Stay Healthy and Make the Right Decisions
Keeping our families healthy requires us to think of others and make smart decisions. These times are hard enough—and if you’re in an accident, it’s a smart decision to call Brooks Law Group. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help you so that you only have to focus on getting better. We’re also offering free video consultations, so that even in quarantine, you can get the help you need. Call us today at 1-800-LAW-3030 or fill out a contact form here!
What do you think—was this inevitable? Do you think PCPS is taking the right steps to reduce cases? We’d like to know what you think, so drop a comment below or on our Facebook page!