Coral Park Elementary School in Westchester will reopen Thursday, a day after it was forced to switch to online learning after a teacher and student tested positive for COVID-19.
For the second time in the same week, COVID-19 has forced Miami-Dade County Public Schools to temporarily close one of its schools. On Monday, it was MAST Academy in Virginia Key.
School board member Dr. Marta Perez, who represents this area, told us a teacher, and the teacher’s child, tested positive Monday. Because this teacher moves from classroom to classroom, many students and other teachers may have been in close proximity. The school shifted to online learning on Wednesday.
The district made the decision to shut the school down so it could conduct contact tracing and also deep-clean the facility.
Perez says parents need to be prepared for disruptions like this.
"And it’s just a terrible situation, the frustration level in the entire community, unfortunately. If we could change anything, it would be that," Perez said. "The teachers are frustrated, the parents are frustrated. It’s the worst case scenario for learning in so many ways."
The teacher’s union president agrees, saying temporary school closures will be the new normal.
"Look, it’s unfortunate. This is a conversation we’re gonna continue to repeat, we know there’s gonna continue to see more school closures," said Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of United Teachers of Dade.
"From all the information we’re gathering on the inside, there are probably 20 schools that have a COVID-19 cases reported."
The school district’s COVID-19 dashboard currently shows 16 cases spread over 10 schools.
"Teachers are already fearful because this is something that we were trying to delay because we knew this was bound to happen. We were trying to delay the reopening of schools because we wanted to make sure every single measure was in place," Hernandez-Mats said.
Perez says the district is already losing students to private schools, and can’t afford to lose more to families who want their kids in school.
"I agree with some of their sentiments," Perez said regarding the union’s criticism. "However, we are in phase 3, we’re supposed to be opening schools, parents want their children in school."
MAST Academy was also only closed for one day.
Officials from the Miami-Dade School Board said the employee and student from Coral Park Elementary School tested positive, and the school has notified individuals who may have had contact with them.
"All buildings in the school were thoroughly sanitized," Miami-Dade County Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Daisy Gonzalez-Diego said in a statement. "As always, our actions will be guided by the health and well being of our students and employees."
Both Miami-Dade and Broward counties have unveiled dashboards to allow parents to see how many reported positive tests each school has.