Miami-Dade County Public Schools announces contact tracing procedures

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Posted at 5:13 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 07:09:04-04

Since schools in Miami-Dade reopened on Oct. 5, there have been 202 positive cases of COVID-19 reported among employees and students, according to their COVID-19 dashboard. Now, the county is laying out its plan for contact tracing, and when schools will closed, if needed.

If a student or staff member tests positive, they have the chance to self-report. Parents should contact their child's school immediately, and if it's the weekend they can call 305-995-3000. After the case is reported, the principal and/or site administrator will notify the District School Health Office, and begin contact tracing. The DSHO will report the case to the Florida Department of Health, which will help with contact tracing.

If the FDOH confirms a case first, it will report it to the DSHO. The DSHO will then notify the school, and the contact tracing will begin after that. Contact tracing will include a review of the student's or employee's schedule, if the student rode the bus, participated in extracurricular activities, and if they had members of the same household at another school in the county.

Regardless of which way the case is reported, both will result in those who had been in contact with the student or employee being contacted directly, along with the entire school community being notified as well.

Individuals who had close contact with the student or employee and test positive will have to quarantine for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms. Siblings of these individuals will not have to quarantine unless they also test positive.

The decision to close a school or classroom will be made on a school-by-school basis, based on multiple factors, including;

  • Number of COVID-19 positive cases of students and staff;
  • Potential exposure to other students and employees identified through contact tracing;
  • Ability to sanitize the school-site prior to the return of students and staff;
  • Potential for outbreak;
  • Cases that are linked within the same school; and
  • Ability to notify those impacted based on the day of the week and the time the case was reported

Information about the number of cases in schools across the county can be found here. However, the district said in a press release that the dashboard, "is not intended to be a real-time system for tracking self-reported employee and confirmed student cases," and that families and employees should not rely on the dashboard to learn about cases in their school or work site.