Miami Senior High Students, Staff Learn COVID Has Arrived

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Angel Dominguez sensed something was amiss when the Miami Senior High School senior got to his first class Thursday.

When in-person learning resumed last week, there were 18 students there.

On Thursday, "we had, like, eight,” he said. “They just said a student caught COVID and they had to send all the other ones to quarantine."

A Miami High teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said he first heard COVID-19 had arrived at his school from "parents emailing or calling us. And students telling us they’re at home on quarantine."

Then, later Wednesday night, he got an email from the administration saying that earlier Wednesday "a staff member and a student at the school self-reported that they tested positive for the COVID-19 virus."

But a member of the general public checking the Miami-Dade district COVID dashboard Thursday would see no signs the virus had struck the school. Same for Miami Beach Fienberg/Fisher K8 center, where a parent told NBC 6 her child’s entire kindergarten was ordered into 14-day quarantine on Tuesday.

The district has not responded to a request for information on how many students have been told to quarantine at both those schools and district wide.

The dashboard did show 14 employees and 14 students infected at other schools as of Thursday afternoon.

In a prior statement, the district stated student cases are not added to the dashboard until the positive test is confirmed by the state Department of Health.

“In an abundance of caution and although some cases may be pending FDOH confirmation, M-DCPS notifies all potentially affected individuals and informs students, parents and employees in that particular school community,” the statement said.

But, it added, “employee cases will be reflected on the dashboard prior to FDOH confirmation."

In the email to teachers, the Miami Senior High administration said the school had been sanitized and that the infected employee and student will not be allowed back on campus until each provides proof of a negative test.

The teacher who spoke to NBC 6 said about two dozen of his students were among those told to stay home in quarantine for 14 days.

The email asked teachers to encourage students to wear masks, wash hands and socially distance.

Not all students, he said, are taking that advice, and that leaves him with one, over-riding worry: “getting COVID.”

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