Update on current COVID-19 protocols

Oct. 1, 2021 – With the changing COVID-19 conditions in the community, many families have asked how this has impacted the school district’s current safety protocols.

Below is an overview of current COVID-19 health and safety protocols including quarantine information, face mask requirements, and communication guidelines.

Quarantine protocols

Have there been changes to the quarantine protocols?

Yes. The Florida Department of Health—Duval (DOH) has managed contact tracing, case investigations, and quarantine protocols since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the department issued a new emergency rule which changed its practice regarding quarantine.  Here is what you can expect based on these new Department of Health practices.

DOH will notify you if your child was identified as having direct contact with a COVID-19 positive case. The need to quarantine is based on whether your child has developed COVID-19 symptoms.

  1. If your child does not develop symptoms of COVID-19, they may attend school, school-sponsored activities, and be on school property at your discretion, or you can choose to quarantine your child.
    •  If you choose to quarantine your child, they should not be out more than seven days from the date of last direct contact and should return to school by the date provided by DOH.
    • If you are unsure how to proceed, we encourage you to contact your pediatrician, health care provider, or the Department of Health for guidance appropriate for your child and family.
    • Please inform your school if you choose to keep your child home for the quarantine period.
  2. Students who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to quarantine until such time as:
    • The student has a negative COVID-19 test and is asymptomatic, or
    • 10 days have passed since symptom onset or a positive test result, the student has been fever-free for 24 hours, and other symptoms are improving, or
    • The student receives written permission from a healthcare provider to return to school.

Shifting to online education

Will elementary classes continue to be moved online if two or more cases of COVID-19 are reported in a seven-day period?

Because the Department of Health has determined that students only need to quarantine if they are close contacts to a positive case and are showing symptoms, the district has discontinued the practice of converting elementary school classrooms to online learning when two or more cases are present in a classroom within a seven-day period.

Face coverings

Face coverings remain a requirement for students unless the student’s parent or guardian has submitted a medical opt-out form. The form must be signed by a state licensed physician, osteopathic physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or licensed mental health therapist/counselor or psychologist.

The Duval County Public School Board has set thresholds to suspend the mask requirement if community transmission of COVID-19 decreases to the moderate range. This Department of Health data is now published on our COVID-19 dashboard. Moderate range is defined as:

  1. Percentage of positive tests during the past seven days equal to or less than 7.99% in Duval County, and
  2.  New cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days of 49.99 or fewer in Duval County.

As of Oct. 1, Duval County remains in the substantial to high range, and the mask requirement remains in effect.

Wearing face masks in other community settings, getting vaccinated if eligible, and social distancing are encouraged to reduce the rate of community transmission.

Communication protocols

Will the district continue to communicate with me about COIVD-19 cases?

Yes, the district will continue its practice of calling families each evening to inform them when positive cases are reported in their child’s school. Additionally:

  • Elementary schools will continue the practice of distributing a letter to the families of students in a classroom during any week in which one or more positive cases are identified in that class during that week.
  • The district will continue to maintain reported case information on its COVID-19 tracking dashboard available here.

COVID-19 symptoms

What are the symptoms of COVID-19, and what should I do if my child has one or more symptoms?

Students with COVID-19 symptoms should not come to school until they receive a negative test for COVID-19 with improvement of symptoms, or they are cleared by their health care provider to return to school. COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

COVID-19 testing

If my child has one or more of these symptoms, how can I get my child tested for COVID-19?

Free testing is available through the City of Jacksonville. See this city webpage for details.

Families can also visit the Florida Department of Health’s website to view available testing locations.

Additionally, many health care providers are offering testing. We recommend families contact their child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor for more information.