2 Sarasota County students ‘excluded from school’ due to contact with Coronavirus patient

Coronavirus

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two students in Sarasota County are being “excluded from school” due to contact with a person who has tested positive for the Coronavirus, district officials said Monday.

Sarasota County Schools posted a notice to families on Monday, “out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of our thousands of families and students.”

The notice says the Florida Department of Health excluded the two students because of their contact with “an individual who has since tested positive for COVID-19.” District officials say both students are well, as of Monday afternoon.

“It is the department’s understanding that the contact did not occur in Sarasota County,” the district said. “It is important to note that at this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Sarasota County.”

District officials say they will not disclose which school or schools the two excluded students attend. The district is citing the safety and privacy of the students and their families.

“Both students will be excluded from school and monitored. If these students have not developed further illness and are well, they will be released by the DOH and return to school,” Monday’s statement said.

However, some local parents feel they have a right to know if their children attend one of the schools in question.

“You don’t have to tell us the names, we’re not asking for names,” said Kia Brand, whose daughter attends Fruitville Elementary. “But just for peace of mind to know which school it is.”

District officials posted an additional comment on its notice, reiterating that the two students are not sick but are being quarantined as a public health measure.

“Our custodial team has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting at all school and district sites. The best way to prevent the spread of germs and viruses is to wash hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Please have this conversation with your children. As always, you can keep your children at home due to illness.”

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County could not clarify if the quarantined kids went to school after the exposure. However, a spokesperson said parents should not worry because the children are not showing symptoms, and only sick people can spread the virus based on what scientists have learned so far.

Christian Knuth is a senior at Sarasota High who suffers from both asthma and a weakened immune system. As much as he worries for his own health, he also thinks the panic over not knowing which schools are affected could fuel more absences.

“I definitely think some kids won’t be there tomorrow,” Knuth said, after learning the news Monday afternoon.

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