Students must self-isolate for 14 days after cruise or international travel, Florida says

Any Florida public school students who travel outside of the country or go on a cruise over spring break must self-isolate for 14 days and undergo an evaluation before returning to class, several local districts announced today.

The School District of Manatee County said the new COVID-19 coronavirus guidance came from the chancellor of Public Schools in Florida, Jacob Oliva, early this morning. 

According to Hillsborough County Schools, the 14-day self-isolation requirement applies to anyone who:

- Has traveled out of the country or gone on a cruise within the past 14 days
- Believes they may have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
- Believes they may have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, or shortness of breath)

The district said the rules apply to any student, employee, or anyone else who needs to come to a school after spring break or any other vacation.

A school in Manatee County, which is already on spring break, is cleaned to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

After the two-week self-isolation period, travelers must then complete an online evaluation before returning to school. The evaluation is not yet available, so it’s not yet clear what questions it will consist of. However, the district warned that the process could result in families being directed to contact a doctor or the Florida Department of Health for further guidance on when they can return to school.

School districts in other states have announced closures of two and even three weeks in order to try and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Florida followed suit late Friday, announcing schools in the state would be closed for two weeks.

As of Friday afternoon, 46 people in Florida have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and two people have died.

If you feel sick

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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