More than 10,000 Polk County students quarantined over last two weeks, new COVID dashboard shows

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Over the last two weeks, 10,268 students have had to quarantine outside of school, according to data from Polk County Public Schools’ new COVID-19 dashboard.

The dashboard, which can be found here, lists new COVID-19 cases, new quarantines and how many students are reported absent every day.

“With everybody back in brick and mortar schools this year, we’re definitely feeling the strain of quarantine,” said Stephanie Yocum, president of Florida Education Association.

Students can access their lessons online through Schoology, an online educational platform.

“What we’re seeing is ‘have’ and ‘have nots’. Students that have access to reliable technology are able to access what our teachers are putting out there,” said Yocum.

Students who do not have access to computers or Wi-fi can be given work packets, according to the school district.

Students can also take devices home during quarantine.

“If parents need any accommodations for their child while in quarantine, they should contact their child’s teacher or their school’s principal for assistance,” wrote school district spokesperson Kyle Kennedy in a statement.

The dashboard also shows 300 employees have been quarantined since Aug. 23.

It does not differentiate between teachers and other staff members.

“If we’re having to combine classes because we don’t have subs and half or a quarter of the staff is out, that’s a crisis,” said school board member Lisa Miller in a recent school board work session.

The teachers’ union and the school district have agreed on ways to allow quarantined teachers to teach remotely.

“I actually was at an elementary school yesterday observing and walking and we actually had a substitute in the class but the teacher was still delivering instructions if she was in the classroom,” said Superintendent Frederick Heid during a recent school board work session.

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