© 2021 All Rights reserved WUSF
News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Education
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

2 Days Into The School Year, A Florida District Asked 440 Students To Quarantine

Mike Burke, Palm Beach County superintendent of schools, chats with students as they eat breakfast on Tuesday. The school district has asked 440 students to quarantine just days into the school year.
Mike Burke, Palm Beach County superintendent of schools, chats with students as they eat breakfast on Tuesday. The school district has asked 440 students to quarantine just days into the school year.

Palm Beach County has reported 51 student and faculty COVID-19 infections but the total number asked to quarantine includes their contacts.

Palm Beach County, Fla., has asked 440 students to quarantine just two days into the school year, after 51 students and faculty had confirmed cases on COVID-19.

The School District of Palm Beach County, the 10th largest school district in the country, teaches an estimated 197,000 students, according to the district's website. While students and staff are required to wear masks in the district, Interim School District Superintendent Michael Burke said in an interview with MSNBC that 5,700 Palm Beach students have opted out, per an order from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that allows parents to give permission to their children to do so.

Burke blamed the opt-out rule as the reason for the spike in cases, calling on DeSantis to make changes to protect students from infection.

"The governor has got to take responsibility for establishing the ground rules we're operating under," Burke said. "This ability for families to opt out is leading to more cases, which will ultimately send more kids home and deprive them of that traditional classroom experience."

DeSantis had previously announced that the state Board of Education could withhold pay from school leaders who implemented mask mandates for students after several superintendents and school board members neglected to follow an executive order from DeSantis banning school districts from requiring students to wear face coverings.

"I think if we really are committed to keeping kids in school, we should reassess the situation," Burke said.

Josie Fischels is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.