VIRGINIA KEY, FLA. (WSVN) - The Maritime and Science Technology Academy on Virginia Key has quarantined 25 teachers and more than 200 students after reports of at least a dozen cases of COVID-19, The Miami Herald reported.
According to Saturday’s report, MAST Academy Principal Derick McKoy said the positive cases were reported this week. He sent a voice message to families about the matter, Friday night.
Saturday afternoon, Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson Daisy Gonzalez-Diego issued a statement that reads in part, “Close social gatherings or interactions with members outside of one’s household have been found to be the leading causes of spread, not in-person schooling. The District continues to urge our community to do their part to keep our schools free of COVID-19.”
The latest development comes as parents try to figure the safest and most effective way to educate their children during the pandemic.
“We are living in a very different moment,” said parent Gustavo Piedrahita.
Piedrahita, whose children are in Broward County Public Schools, praised the teachers for their tireless efforts over the past year.
“We really appreciate the efforts that the teachers are doing these days,” he said. “We understand how hard it is for them, but definitely, we feel super supported from the schools.”
Nevertheless, the concerned father said he doesn’t want to take any chances and has decided to continue with virtual learning for the time being.
“COVID-19 is so complex, we don’t want to take a risk,” he said. “We are waiting for the vaccine.”
Meanwhile, efforts to vaccinate those most at risk move forward throughout South Florida.
7News cameras on Saturday captured lines of vehicles at Snyder Park, a vaccination site in Fort Lauderdale, and at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
For those who can’t make it out to the sites, officials are finding ways to bring the vaccines to their communities.
To expand equitable vaccine access to all seniors 65+, we are collaborating with community organizations, nonprofits, & faith-based organizations across our county. Thanks to the hardworking team at @JacksonHealth North Dade Health Center for vaccinating 100s of seniors today. pic.twitter.com/P7JU8I3rgk
— Daniella Levine Cava (@MayorDaniella) January 30, 2021
Miami Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava tweeted out several pictures with the caption, “To expand equitable vaccine access to all seniors 65+, we are collaborating with community organizations, nonprofits and faith-based organizations across our county.”
“The occurrence of COVID-19 remains extraordinarily high in the United States,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director od the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Florida Department of Health reported 15,019 new cases and 106 deaths on Saturday.
With even more contagious variants of the virus now in South Florida, experts say the public shouldn’t let their guards down.
“Wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces,” said Walensky. “If we do all these things, there is less virus spreading.”
Until the pandemic is over, Piedrahita said, his family is trying to make the most of the extra time together.
“Understanding the difficulty of these days, we are taking super advantage of the moment,” he said.
Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade, also urged the community to follow CDC guidelines to prevent further situations like the one at MAST Academy.
Hernandez-Mats released a statement that reads in part, “Our teachers and students are exhausted, and until the community behaves responsibly and rigorously follows the CDC guidelines, these interruptions will continue to be our norm. Schools with such high numbers of detected cases should go into full quarantine to ensure safety.”
For updated information about vaccinations in Florida, click here.
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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