M-DCPS reports ‘multiple’ cases of COVID-19 after 2 elementary school students test positive

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County Public Schools has confirmed “multiple positive” cases of COVID-19 at local schools after announcing two elementary school students tested positive for the virus.

Officials did not give a specific number of cases late Thursday night, but in a statement said, “We have multiple positive cases of COVID-19. The impacted schools and individuals have been notified.”

The statement stops short of naming the other schools where the positive cases were discovered.

However, the United Teachers of Dade reported the new COVID-19 cases were at the following schools:

  • Holmes Elementary School
  • Charles D. Wyche Jr. Elementary School
  • South Pointe Elementary School
  • South Dade Technical College
  • Poinciana Park Elementary School

The school district has not confirmed this information.

Thursday night’s announcement follows confirmation from the Florida Department of Health that a student at William Lehman Elementary School in Southwest Miami-Dade tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I can confirm that this child did not contract the virus at school,” said M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

A statement from the school district reads in part, “In accordance with Miami-Dade County Public Schools protocols, the student who tested positive will remain home until the Health Department provides clearance for a return to school.

The case at William Lehman Elementary comes two days after a student at a charter school in Doral also tested positive and less than a week after schools in the county reopened for in-person learning.

Parents who spoke to 7News outside of William Lehman Elementary said the announcement does not come as a surprise.

“I think it’s something that we all expect is going to happen,” said Jessica Blais. “This virus is not going anywhere.”

The statement from M-DCPS 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 cleared.”

The statement further reads, “Although the student’s movements in the school were limited, the entire school was thoroughly sanitized early this morning according to M-DCPS protocols. The school community has been sent a notification about the case.”

“I think the school is doing everything they can to ensure that our kids are going to be safe,” said Blais.

“I just make sure he’s OK, that he keeps his social distancing, that he washes his hands, [wears a] face mask,” said parent Vivian Perez.

Video sent in by the school district shows crews sanitizing a classroom.

Officials said the previous COVID-19 case was announced Tuesday in a letter to parents at Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School.

Officials at Downtown Doral Charter said they made the proper notifications to parents and staff, and they have done a deep cleaning.

7News spoke to a parent at the charter school on Thursday morning.

“I’m really confident with the school, with all their procedures, so we’re just taking now the measures to be sure that they’re fine, and hopefully they can keep coming to the school for the rest of the year,” he said.

United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats said it’s important that everyone continues to do their part.

“Safety is going to be extremely important. We want to make sure that everybody is taking all the necessary precautions to keep, not only their children, but our community at large safe,” she said.

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist at Florida International University, said that while school officials are doing their best, she believes there are additional steps that need to be taken in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in the classroom, such as more accurate rapid testing and better ventilation in some buildings.

“We’re putting a lot of people from many households together, very young people. It’s just a little bit harder for them to comply with the ‘new normal’ guidelines,” she said.

But parents at William Lehman Elementary said this won’t deter them from sending their students back.

“It’s not the same, learning at home with your parents, than learning in school in the environment where you’re supposed to be learning,” said Perez.

Schools in Miami-Dade began reopening for in-person instruction on Monday.

The full statement from William Lehman Elementary School can be read below.

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