BAY HARBOR ISLANDS, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County Public Schools closed Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center until further notice after, they said, an employee who tested positive for the coronavirus interacted with several students.
The woman works at a nearby community center and was around students at an aftercare program. After showing symptoms for the virus, she was tested and results showed on Thursday that she tested positive for COVID-19.
Early Friday morning, school officials announced the closing of the youth center frequented by the employee.
“I wasn’t that nervous, but then, when I found out it was actually real, I was like freaking out a little bit,” said student Elisa Chirino.
One parent said he didn’t know about the school’s closure.
“We were not aware,” said the parent. “I think it’s safer, like regarding what’s going on in the world, it’s much better to take precaution and to make sure that everything is going to be under control.” He added that he and his family will be avoiding public spaces as much as they can.
Biohazard specialists were seen cleaning glass doors, wiping down sectionals and making sure every inch of the community center was clean after the employee was sent for testing.
The cleaning crew said the job was thorough and took several hours.
After declaring a state of emergency, the city issued a notice that read in part, “Our employee remains in isolation and under medical care. Our prayers are with her for a speedy recovery.”
The school’s closure comes after a second case was announced in Miami-Dade County, Friday.
The second patient is a 42-year-old man. Health officials said his case is travel-related.
The district said they had prepared for the possibility of school closures. They went further and stated that the family of the students at the youth center will be contacted to begin distance learning.
“It was a matter of time,” said parent Stephanie Ayash. “We all knew that it was coming. I’m scared like everybody else, but I mean, what can we do? Just do the best that we can. I think that any preventative measure that the city does is OK. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
School officials said they have no plans to close other schools. Sports, extracurricular and club activities have not been cancelled.
Meanwhile, the Morris N. Broad Community Center has been closed after an employee who worked there became the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Miami-Dade County.
“It’s pretty scary because it’s spreading around pretty quick,” resident Ellie Delacruz said.
The Bay Harbor Islands Town Council posted an update on their website that read in part, “In the interest of public safety, the Morris N. Broad Community Center, all Town Parks, and Town Hall will remain closed until further notice to facilitate a deep cleaning.”
The deep cleaning began earlier this week when it became that the employee was self-isolating and awaiting test results. Now that the results for the coronavirus came up positive for the employee, more of the town has been closed down.
Salesman Jason Moody, who was visiting Bay Harbor Islands, said that his concern for the coronavirus increased to a high level after learning about the employee’s infection.
“I’m at a high level because I’m hearing about these cases down here in Florida,” Moody said. “It’s been kind of difficult hearing it, but to be that close to something like that, it’s kind of crazy, actually. I would just say if you think you’re clean, try to be more cleaner. Wash your hands more, sanitize more — you can never be too safe.”
City leaders hosted a telephone Town Hall meeting Friday afternoon, where concerned residents can call the mayor and doctors if they had any questions about the coronavirus.
Bay Harbor Islands residents said that being prepared is more crucial now than ever.
“I’ve been just washing my hands more than usual,” said one resident.
“I’m just trying to keep away from big crowds, closed in where everybody is breathing the same air,” Delacruz said.
M-DCPS has established several hotlines and a website during this pandemic:
Hotline for Learning and Remote Learning:
Mental Health Hotline:
Hotline for COVID Rumor Control:
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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