Coral Park Elementary returns to virtual learning after 3 test positive for COVID-19

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Another Miami-Dade school has announced its return to virtual learning after COVID-19 cases were detected on their school grounds.

Coral Park Elementary, located at 1225 SW 97th Ave., announced on Wednesday morning that three persons on campus have tested positive for the virus.

The school initially released a statement on their Instagram account that read in part, “Two Coral Park Elementary individuals have tested positive for COVID-19. In-person instruction will pivot to online learning from home on Wednesday, October 14th to ensure that those who had direct contact are notified to allow for thorough sanitization of school.”

According to Miami-Dade County Public School officials, an employee and two students are now confirmed to have tested positive for the virus.

Gladys Gomez, whose granddaughter is a fourth-grader at Coral Park, said she’s hopeful this will all pass soon, but for now her granddaughter is doing online work at her home because of what happened.

M-DCPS said they made the shift to virtual learning so that they can make all the proper notifications and deep-clean the school.

7News cameras captured cleaning crews making their way through the facilities, spraying on surfaces outside and inside.

M-DCPS Chief Communications Officer Daisy Gonzalez-Diego released a statement reading in part, “In an abundance of caution and after consultation with the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade, Coral Park Elementary School will pivot to online instruction today after an employee and a student reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The transition ensured that those who came in close contact with the individuals were notified and that all buildings in the school were thoroughly sanitized. As always, our actions will be guided by the health of well-being of our students and employees.”

Gomez said she’s not too worried so far, and she’s thankful for how the district has been handling the situation.

On Wednesday afternoon, M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho explained how the district decides when a school needs to be closed because of COVID.

“Each case is looked at independently. The circumstances surrounding the reports that we get are looked at carefully, and there’s a great deal of verification. As you know, the decision to close a school is a measure of last resort, and it’s done after consultation with the Department of Education,” he said.

Districtwide, the COVID-19 dashboard shows a total of two employees and 11 students have tested positive for the virus.

District officials said positive cases reported by employees are automatically put into the dashboard, but cases reported by students are not added until the Florida Department of Health confirms them.

MAST Academy is the only other school in the district that temporarily switched back to virtual learning after two students contracted COVID-19.

“It was a significant number of students that had direct contact with these two students. It was virtually impossible to notify just those students Sunday,” Carvalho said.

Schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are working to navigate in-person learning during the pandemic.

As of Wednesday, there are a total of 16 cases of COVID-19 throughout M-DCPS, with 14 students and two employees infected, according to their dashboard.

Broward County Public Schools has 46 employees and one student who have caught COVID-19, according to that district’s dashboard.

“That is something that I thought about prior to sending him, but based off of him, his learning structure is needing to be in the classroom, so it’s kinda just tricky being torn between the two,” said a parent.

M-DCPS said they have not reached a decision on whether to reopen Coral Park Elementary for in-person learning Thursday.

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