Latest Delay Raises Questions About Transparency, True COVID-19 Spread In Schools.
Follows Whispering Pines Elementary School COVID “Coverup.”
Parent Must Make Long Term Distance, In-Person Learning Choice This Week
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Palm Beach County School District, already under fire for failing to notify parents and a teacher that their first grade classmate was infected with COVID-19 at Whispering Pines Elementary School in Boca Raton, continues to face problems.
A robocall alerted parents of Morikami Elementary School students Monday afternoon of a positive COVID-19 test in the “school community,” but that test is not listed on the school district’s COVID-19 dashboard as of 5:45 a.m. Tuesday. That means parents and students have no idea whether the case involves an adult or child. There is no indication that contact tracing has begun. Students and teachers will return to the school today not knowing if they’ve been exposed.
The Morikami Park infection highlights the ongoing problem with the school system’s COVID-19 dashboard and notification procedures. The dashboard is supposed to be updated between 11 p.m. and midnight every day, but the dashboard hasn’t been updated in days. It is holding at 64 faculty and student cases, a number dramatically lower than reality — according to those familiar with internal reports versus those being reported publicly. BocaNewsNow.com is aware of several cases not on the dashboard, including an additional new case at at a Boca Raton area high school.
On Friday, a parent of a Whispering Pines Elementary School first grader took it upon herself to notify parents of children in her son’s class after the boy tested positive for COVID-19. The school district knew of the positive test on Wednesday (October 7th) but had still not notified parents of the boy’s classmates, or his teacher, by Monday (October 12th) — five days later. The students and teacher were in class Thursday and Friday with no knowledge that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
BocaNewsNow.com asked Dr. Debra Robinson, the only medical doctor on the Palm Beach County School Board, for comment on Monday. She had not responded as of early Tuesday morning.
School District Spokesperson Claudia Shea told BocaNewsNow.com on Sunday that the school system isn’t intentionally withholding information.
“We are continuously reevaluating our notification process,” said Shea. “We are not trying to hide information from anyone.”
BocaNewsNow.com has reported for days that school district officials are blaming the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County for exceptionally slow contact tracing. School District officials are also blaming the school district’s lawyers who they claim have prohibited principals from making anything other than a very generic announcement about a positive test involving someone in their school. That led one lawyer to suggest the school district’s attorneys are not very good.
“(The school district’s lawyers) should publicly release their opinion document showing what case law exists to support their position that parents shouldn’t be told when their children have been exposed to a deadly communicable disease.”
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