MIAMI (WSVN) - As COVID cases in Florida continue to increase, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Broward County are working to prevent further spread of the virus.
M-DCPS distributed COVID-19 at-home rapid test kits to their employees at several schools throughout the county between 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday.
At-home rapid testing kits were handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis, as supplies were limited.
This situation is very worrying, and I want to keep safe, and I want to work with my children,” said Blanca Gonzalez. “I want to keep them safe, too.”
“Obviously, the more people that test, the safer we’re all going to be,” said employee Cindy del Marmol.
With classes set to resume Monday, the district gave out upwards of 10,000 free at-home test kits for employees and their families.
“I’ll be testing myself, my husband and my daughter,” said del Marmol.
School leaders said it’s the first step in helping to keep omicron out of the schools.
“Our ability to maintain schools open depends on health conditions, and those health conditions are mitigated on the basis of personal regulations,” said M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
The distribution of the test kits comes days after M-DCPS announce they will require all adults who enter a school building to wear a mask.
Broward County Public Schools voted Friday to change their protocol as well. Face coverings will now be mandatory to all adult visitors and vendors. Masks for teachers and staff will remain optional.
As for Catholic schools, the Archdiocese of Miami said masks will be a must for students and employees for the next three weeks. At that point, they will reassess their policy.
Teachers heading back to class this week hope these changes and the at-home tests will make the difference between safety and getting sick.
“We don’t want to be exposed to COVID, and we don’t want to expose anybody else,” said del Marmol, “so I think the more people that do this, the safer we’re all going to be.”
Meanwhile, Broward County added more testing sites throughout the first week of January.
A testing site opened at Margate Community Redevelopment Agency on Sunday. Testing took place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tamarac Sports Complex and Lauderhill Sports Park will open testing sites on Tuesday.
Miramar Youth Enrichment Center will open a testing site on Thursday.
M-DCPS officials said the new variant has caused school bus shortages because many drivers are out sick.
BCPS officials have also reported staff shortages because of COVID.
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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