Leon County mother says repeated COVID-19 exposure and quarantine is affecting son’s education, calls for digital options

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 8:09 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Tallahassee mother says her son has been quarantined for almost half of the 2021-2022 school year so far.

Kaylon Williams’ son is a sixth-grade student at Cobb Middle School; he has been exposed to COVID-19 and forced to quarantine twice in the first three weeks of school.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the available statistics show more than 990 students in Leon County are quarantined. In total, that number represents 3.25% of all students.

The dashboard shows 490 total reported cases of staff and students over the past 14 days.

Leon County School District policy says parents must keep students at home during quarantine when they’re ill or running a fever, or if they are awaiting COVID-19 test results, even if the student is asymptomatic.

Williams says the first time her son was exposed, he missed a full week of school because his “rapid” test results took two days. She says during that time, he also was unable to get into the online system to access his assignments.

When his password was reset days later, he was looking at homework on subjects and lessons he’d missed. Williams says he’s already behind.

“So then I have to go to work, come home, and try to teach him in order for him to do his assignments; I’m not a teacher,” Williams said.

She added that while she also started a new job this month, and taking time off for her son’s COVID situation has been difficult, her priority is his education.

“He’s expected to do these assignments, but he hasn’t been taught,” Williams said.

Her son has had nine days in school this year, and he has been at home in quarantine for the other six days.

She learned he was exposed again on Monday; they have an appointment for him to be tested on Wednesday. Williams is concerned about another delayed result, and her son possibly missing the rest of the week.

Williams is pushing for a digital academy or virtual option.

“I would like to see them at least have some kind of streaming or recording of the teacher teaching the lesson. That would be very helpful. They need to make sure that the documents they post online for the students to do their assignments can be typed over, not PDF documents,” Williams said.

A spokesperson for Leon County Schools says the state did not allocate funding for digital options this year, but they are working to find some relief for parents on the issues.

An e-mail from the Cobb Middle School principal also says Leon County Schools are now providing free 24/7 access to tutoring for any students grades three through twelve, allowing them to schedule live lessons with tutors while in quarantine.

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