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If 15-20% Of Students Are In Quarantine Due To COVID, Hillsborough Could Call For School Closure

Man on stool speaks to students in classroom. All are wearing surgical masks.
Superintendent Addison Davis says Hillsborough County Schools may close if a large enough percentage of students have to be quarantined due to coronavirus exposure.

Districts are deciding how to issue quarantine orders, and what metrics would merit a shutdown.

As coronavirus cases pop up in K-12 schools that are reopening across the state, many districts are looking at what circumstances might force them to close.

On Tuesday, Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Addison Davis said he has been in talks with the Department of Health, Tampa General Hospital, and USF Health about possibly calling for a school to close if a certain percentage of students are in quarantine due to potential exposure to a COVID case.

“We do see some school districts using 15-20 percent and we are going to probably stay within that bubble relating to 15-20 percent as of right now regarding the number of students that have been quarantined,” said Davis.

He added that such a closure would aim to avoid a super-spreading event within a school.

But Davis also promised parents a "choice," and reiterated Governor Ron DeSantis’s vow to take a “surgical” approach to quarantine orders.

Davis said the Department of Health is looking at the idea of "exposure," which they say is being within six feet of a positive case for at least 15 minutes.

"The Department of Health, working with the Department of Education, they really want us to be intentional with regard to who has had that exposure related to that proximity," Davis said.

"So it could be where a particular side of the class could be quarantined, and another side of the class may not."

He promised full transparency, saying the county will publish a daily dashboard of COVID cases in schools.

Schools in HIllsborough County wrap up one week of e-learning only Friday, and open their doors to in-person classes Monday.

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