Two Manatee County schools report COVID-19 cases on third day back to class

The School District of Manatee County announced positive COVID-19 test results at two of its campuses, just three days into the school year.

The district announced Wednesday that Ballard Elementary and Parrish Community High School had confirmed cases.

Separately, the principal of Rowlett Academy for Arts and Communication in Bradenton confirms they have a COVID-19 case, saying it was a student and the school is following "protocol."

Ballard parents were told that contact tracers found direct exposures in an isolated portion of campus and impacted students or staff were sent home to isolate for two weeks.

Parrish parents were told there was minimal direct exposure to the patient.

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Manatee's school board voted 3-2 on July 14 to open school buildings on August 17.

Charlie Kennedy was one of the two 'no' votes and says, while he has been encouraged by widespread mask use, he's surprised it took until even the second day for positive cases to come to light.

"For the board, any conversation about rethinking our reopening plan will be a constant balance of how many cases do we have to get before we reassess?" Kennedy said.

He also said it appears the infected student at Parrish did not have a large number of direct exposures.

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The district reiterated schools are taking temperatures, requiring masks, and questioning all students on their way into school.

The school district says they have 300,000 masks on hand to give to students who don't have them.

Both schools were also deep-cleaned and things will proceed as normal, for now.