CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla — Nearly 1,000 Charlotte County students are learning from the bedrooms. The district says 400 students reported symptoms. So, they asked their siblings to stay at home too, to keep everyone safe.
Spokesperson Michael Riley says they’ve had 6 positive cases, but 920 students have been asked to stay at home.
“We want the kids in school. But if we were to keep a child - if a child came down with a stomachache or a headache, and we thought, okay we’re not going to send this poor child home…Then they test positive and then the whole class comes up positive, that would not be good for us,” he said.
Students and their siblings must stay at home for 10 days, but Riley says they can go back sooner under one condition.
“If they have a doctor signs on there and says this student can return to school, we’re okay with that,” he said.
Charlotte County isn’t the only district in Southwest Florida keeping students at home because of COVID-19.
Lee County Schools has reported positive cases at more than 20 schools, including the transportation center where they keep school buses.
One Clewiston High School employee tested positive for COVID-19, and two others had to quarantine. Collier County Public Schools reports 29 students testing positive and 11 positive cases among employees so far.
50 of the 900 Charlotte County students learning from home attend Lemon Bay High School. Some of those confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported at Murdock Middle school, Charlotte Technical College and Port Charlotte High School.
While the home-bound students and siblings represent only about six percent of students in the entire district, Riley says they’re still working to bring that number down.
“We’re revising our practices and procedures, some of them. Because you do them and you learn, and you learn and you change some things,” he said.
Riley says the school district meets with the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County three times a week to revise their plan to hopefully keep more students in the classroom.