NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The morning after Miami-Dade County Public Schools announced “multiple” COVID-19 cases in their schools, the district has clarified three students and one employee have tested positive for the virus.
Late Friday morning, the county’s school dashboard was updated reading three additional elementary schools to William Lehman Elementary School in Southwest Miami-Dade have a confirmed case of COVID-19.
M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho spoke to the media at around 1 p.m. and confirmed the cases.
“This is absolutely different than anything that we’ve experienced before,” said Carvalho. “We now have four cases across Miami-Dade.”
All four of the cases are at elementary schools. They are:
- Zora Neale Hurston Elementary
- Poinciana Park Elementary School
- Charles D. Wyche Jr. Elementary School
Students tested positive for the virus at Charles D. Wyche and Zora Neale Hurston. The employee who tested positive works at Poinciana Park.
“As soon as we received this information yesterday, we communicated, we initiated the contact tracing process,” said Carvalho, “establishing rapid communication with the individuals directly impacted.”
Those individuals will remain quarantined until the Florida Department of Health clears them to come back to campus.
Parents of students at William Lehman Elementary School shared their thoughts on the confirmed case.
“We felt comfortable with the reaction,” said parent Tivisay Delgado. “We were notified immediately. A little scary, but I mean, listen, virtual school wasn’t working at our home. I’m going back to work physically soon, so going back in person was like the only option.”
“A little concerned, a little worried, but I believe that they are doing the right thing,” said parent Julia Tjandera.
Parents at other schools echoed these comments.
“Yeah I feel like they’re doing what they should be doing,” said parent Robbie Gay.
“I walked through the school. The school was clean, everything,” said parent Charles Webb. “They wiped everything down. Everything was good. All the kids got their masks on and everything in class.”
The case at William Lehman Elementary School became the first confirmed case at a Miami-Dade County public school.
Carlos and Tivisay Delgado said they felt comfortable with safety measures at the school and feel the update from the school district was inevitable, even if it was one day after their daughter returned to the campus.
“We feel confident that they have things under control,” said Carlos.
According to district officials, all four schools have been deep cleaned.
“The swift mitigation strategies that we have taken, we believe, will help in reducing the possibility of further infections,” said Carvalho.
A statement from M-DCPS regarding the COVID-19 case at William Lehman Elementary reads in part, “Following established contact tracing procedures, those who were identified as coming in close contact with the student have already been notified and will also remain home until they are also cleared.”
“Kids, they have their parents, they have other things, they go out, they can still get infected even though they are doing all the right things,” said Tjandera.
Not everyone agrees that it was the right time to resume in-person learning.
“This week has been quite the whirlwind,” said United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats.
Hernandez-Mats raised questions about the accuracy of the number of COVID-19 cases being reported, and she asked teachers to speak out if they have safety concerns.
“This virus is deadly. This virus is invisible, and we can’t be invisible,” she said. “We need to make sure that people understand that lives are at risk.”
Friday evening, school district officials said they are looking at two other situations involving people with COVID-like symptoms, but no positive results have been confirmed.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools has set up a hotline and a webpage for parents and students with questions surrounding COVID-19. For more information, call 305-995-3000 or visit covid19.dadeschools.net.
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