Suwannee County schools deal with COVID in first week back

Suwannee County Schools welcomed students in the building for the first day since last spring...
Suwannee County Schools welcomed students in the building for the first day since last spring on Monday.(WCTV)
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 1:15 PM EDT
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LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCTV) - Suwannee County School District superintendent Ted Roush confirms the district is dealing with COVID cases, four days after schools opened.

Thursday afternoon, the Florida Department of Health in Suwannee County confirmed to WCTV that one student tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently following quarantine protocols.

FDOH-Suwannee also says several school personnel tested positive for coronavirus prior to the start of the school year and are currently completing their quarantine, and three staff members have tested positive since school started and are in quarantine.

“We have worked from day one, with the health department, to deal with cases as they have come up,” the superintendent wrote in an email to WCTV.

Despite the positive cases, Roush said it has been a great start to the school year for Suwannee County.

“We understand that there are going to be cases and we will work with each situation on a case-by-case basis,” Roush said. “We are not worried and will continue to forge ahead.”

The district reopened classrooms on Monday and is one of the first in Florida to kick off the school year.

Staff have made a number of changes to make sure everyone is practicing social distancing. Classroom desks have been separated. In the lunchroom, a two-student-per-table policy is enforced. Extra personnel have been hired for cleaning and sanitation stations are set up throughout the school.

School administrators say masks are optional; a handful of students and teachers were wearing them Monday morning when WCTV visited Riverside Elementary on the first day of class.

The district is offering families traditional, in-class instruction, remote learning or a hybrid model, where students learn from home but come to school once per week.

The school says about 700 families chose the traditional model and just fewer than 200 chose the hybrid.

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