BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Remember the number 753. That’s the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Palm Beach County School District as the system shuts for Thanksgiving break. Health officials and, privately, school officials fear that number will look like an “introduction to counting course” within a week of students returning to school — as numbers are expected to surge as a result of families holding Thanksgiving celebrations against the guidance of the CDC.
“It’s going to be bad. It’s going to be horrible,” said a Palm Beach County School District official speaking to BocaNewsNow.com on the condition of anonymity. “We continue to have parents who refuse to make smart choices. We continue to have parents who are sending sick kids to school. There is little faith that these parents will do the right thing over the Thanksgiving break.”
Among the hardest hit schools in the county are schools in Boca Raton and Delray Beach. Boca Raton Community High School reports 26 COVID-19 cases. Calusa Elementary reports 17 COVID-19 cases. Whispering Pines Elementary reports 10 COVID-19 cases. Omni Middle School reports 9 COVID-19 cases. Spanish River High School, reporting 4 cases, was only reporting one case until two weeks after the school inexplicably held the PSAT test in the school’s gym. Notably, most of these schools are operating at just 40-50 percent as most students continue to learn from home. Translation: if everyone was back in school, the numbers would likely be double what you see.
In a tersely worded email to BocaNewsNow.com from a school district spokesperson, the school district asserted that “absolutely no administrator has even suggested that we are distance learning only after Thanksgiving.”
That comment was made after our reporting that a senior school official told BocaNewsNow.com that the school district should be heading in that direction to curb the unfettered spread of COVID-19 in the schools.
The problem, according to school officials, continues to be parents who are not keeping kids showing cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms home. The school district has initiated multiple robocalls, reminding parents that they are required to keep sick children home. But parents, according to school officials, continue to send sick children to school. Once identified, they are sent to the school nurse who keeps them in isolation until parents arrive to bring them home.
”I fear what December will look like,” said a school official to BocaNewsNow.com. “For all of the families trying to do the right thing, there are parents who believe the rules don’t apply. We hear from teachers who have heard from students who shared their Thanksgiving plans. Kids spoke about trips. Kids spoke about big family gatherings. If you think it’s bad now, just wait.”
The Florida Department of Health reports that the pediatric positivity rate in Palm Beach County is 11.5-percent. The health department defines “pediatric” as anyone 18 or under.
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