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OCPS creates form for reporting, monitoring new COVID-19 cases during breaks

WFTV Orlando logo WFTV Orlando 11/27/2020 Megan Cruz

With teachers and students returning to school Monday, the Orange County school district has created a way for families to report a positive COVID-19 case, even during the holiday break.

Orange County teacher and parent Carolyn Baptiste says she looks forward to the Thanksgiving break every year.

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“I’m enjoying this week off.”

But in just three days, she and her kids will be back at school, and she admits, she’s weary about it.

“There’s concern because I don’t know if everyone is following the guidelines,” Baptiste says.

District officials anticipated some families might travel or gather with people outside of their households and could test positive over the Thanksgiving Break, so they created a secure online form- accessible from the school district’s homepage- where that information can be reported.

“And we’re tracking that during the break to make sure that we’re getting out communication if necessary, during the break, and especially when we get back from the break,” says Scott Howat with Orange County Public Schools.

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The form requests details like when the person tested positive, what school they attend or work at, and the last day they were on campus.

OCPS says the information would go to the Department of Health and could help with contact tracing.

However, last week, Orange County Health Officer Raul Pino said his contact tracers just can’t keep up with all the county’s cases.

“When they go above 300 (cases per day), it’s very difficult for us to do that.”

And according to a report from Orange County, there have been more than 300 cases a day every day for the last two weeks.

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But, Pino says they prioritize cases in schools and long-term care facilities, as well as cases involving first responders and healthcare workers.

Right now, Pino says teachers and students make up about 25 percent of all cases.

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