OKEECHOBEE – Thirty-three Okeechobee County students and a teacher may have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive student during the first week of school, according to a notice posted Thursday by Okeechobee County Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dylan Tedders.
“Eleven students on a bus and twenty-one students from six classrooms were excluded from school for a period of 14 days. One teacher was also excluded for the same amount of time. Masks were worn at all times, but the lack of distancing led to the exclusions.
"We will transition the above mentioned students to Option 2 during the 14 days. A positive from this experience is that without masks it is likely we would have excluded over one hundred students and six teachers today," stated Tedders.
In a notice to parents and students, Director of Human Resources Dr. Joseph G. Stanley, wrote:
“This morning, Aug. 19, the District was notified by the Department of Health that a student at Okeechobee High School tested positive for COVID-19. The student was immediately isolated from others and was sent home from school.
“We are working closely with the Department of Health to identify those who may have been in direct contact with the student. We will assist in the Department’s efforts to provide information in regards to contact tracing. If you have potentially been exposed, the Department of Health will reach out to you as a part of the contact tracing efforts. We will protect the confidentiality of those involved in this incident.
“We have taken the necessary steps to sanitize any areas which may have been compromised, as outlined in the District’s Reopening Plan.
“The District continues to adhere to CDC guidelines, which include the use face coverings, maintaining social distancing whenever possible, and checking the temperature of everyone who arrives on campus. We encourage everyone to be observant of symptoms that could develop within the next 14 days. You may want to seek advice on testing from a medical professional or be tested immediately if symptoms arise.
If a student or staff member seeks a COVID-19 test, he/she must remain home while awaiting the results of the test. It is very important that any student or staff member who takes a COVID-19 test immediately notify the Human Resources Department at 863-462-5000, Ext. 1022.”