More than 40 cases of COVID-19 now linked to Broward schools

PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward County Public Schools have reported their first confirmed case of a student testing positive for COVID-19 on their campuses since they welcomed students back.

As of Tuesday, BCPS said there have been 47 cases of COVID-19 in the school district over a 30-day period of time that mostly involve employees, though students are among the cases.

The county had resumed in-person learning on Friday.

The first confirmed case, announced Monday night, was a first-grader on the West Campus of the Pembroke Pines Charter Elementary School. Another student was confirmed at Chapel Trail Elementary School.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, on Monday, two school employees also tested positive, one at Miramar High School and the other at Park Trails Elementary School in Parkland.

Parents said they’re confused about what the future may hold for their kids attending school in a COVID-19 environment.

“I think it’s good that they’re back in school, but we just gotta be careful,” said parent Najee Crawford.

When the city spokesperson announced the case of COVID-19 at Pembroke Pines Charter Elementary School, they said everyone at the school was notified, but the parents of the students attending the school said they didn’t know about it.

“I didn’t even know that,” said one parent.

“If I would’ve known that, I probably would not have dropped my kid off,” Crawford said.

The announcement comes on the same day as MAST Academy in Virginia Key announced they were going back to virtual learning after two students tested positive for the coronavirus, less than a week after reopening.

“It was a significant number of students that had direct contact with these two students,” said Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “It was virtually impossible to notify just those students Sunday. Therefore, we made the decision yesterday to close down the school today.”

United Teachers of Dade shared a picture showing a crowded hallway at MAST Academy on Friday.

“This is a lesson for our students. We heard that these two students may have contracted COVID-19 from being at a party and exposing themselves,” said United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats.

Students went back to MAST Academy Tuesday morning.

“We felt pretty safe coming back because they disinfected everything and they called the parents of the kids that were in those classrooms,” said a student.

Since M-DCPS’ staggered reopening last week, 11 students and one employee have tested positive for the virus.

Officials at Flagami Elementary School in Southwest Miami-Dade sanitized their campus after one student was confirmed to have tested positive on the school district’s dashboard over the weekend. Students returned to class as normal, Monday morning.

“If children are exhibiting symptoms, do not send them to school. Inform the school community,” said Carvalho.

As for BCPS’ staggered start of the school year, students in third, sixth and ninth grades are scheduled to return to campus on Tuesday if they opted in for in-person learning.

With dozens of COVID-19 cases reported across both counties, parents are being cautious.

“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.

“I just encourage our families to keep believing in us because we are here for our kids, and we love what we do,” said BCPS employee Valerie Wanza.

BCPS said they are following CDC guidelines, and they’re working with the Florida Department of Health in Broward County to keep the coronavirus as contained as possible.

They also said they’re trying to communicate with parents as best they can when a COVID-19 case pops up at their child’s school.

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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