Nearly 300 students in Florida county quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure concerns

A Florida school district has quarantined 292 students and 14 teachers from at least five high schools after children and staff members displayed signs of COVID-19 symptoms, reports WFLX.

Martin County School District said Tuesday that the students at South Fork High School in Stuart, Florida and Jensen Beach High School will switch to remote learning for 14 days. District spokeswoman Jennifer DeShazo said those ordered to stay home included members of a swim team and students who traveled on one of the bus routes.

School board officials said some parents are irresponsibly sending their children to campus, when they shouldn't. Instead of waiting for a COVID-19 test result, they are sending students to school, then calling when their test is positive.

"I want to reinforce the fact that people need to take the personal responsibility in this," Superindent Laurie Gaylord said during Tuesday's meeting. "If your children are sick, please do not send them to school."

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According to WFLX, as of Tuesday, 231 high school students and 61 elementary school students are under quarantine. No middle school students are under quarantine.

The first day of school started on August 11 in Martin County.

"There will be cases that present themselves," Gaylord said, adding that high schools present the biggest challenges because students are moving between classes more frequently than elementary and middle school students.

The school district referred questions to the state health department on the number of students who tested positive or were presumed to be infected before test results were available.

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The district in the county north of West Palm Beach had already quarantined some students at three elementary schools after reopening seven days ago.

Over the weekend, two employees at J.D. Parker Elementary School, also in Stuart, Florida reported they experienced COVID-like symptoms, which prompted orders to quarantine.

Other schools in other areas of the state began to reopen this week as the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 continues to drop statewide.

The Associated Press contributed to this report