Miami Dade public schools to relax quarantine protocols for middle schoolers

Middle school students in Miami-Dade County public schools will face reduced quarantine time, lasting just five days, beginning Monday, Oct. 11.

Citing a decrease in positive student cases across the board in county schools since the Labor Day peak, district officials decided Wednesday to align the middle school students with the same protocol for unvaccinated adults and high school students.

Starting Monday, if a student shows no symptoms and came in direct contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they’ll only have to be quarantined for five days, rather than the previous 10. They can return to class with a negative PCR test administered on or after the fifth day since exposure if they remain symptom-free.

Students in middle school currently can return to class after 10 days since exposure without any COVID-19 testing.

The latest modification still defies Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recently introduced state rule, which says parents can decide if their asymptomatic child should quarantine or not after exposure.

“The projection is very favorable for Miami-Dade County public schools,” said Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “... In fact, 57% of our students (12 and older) are fully vaccinated and that is a very encouraging statistic.”

Via Twitter, Carvalho said, “we will continue to follow the science, consult with our medical experts, and review our protocols weekly to identify opportunities for further relaxation, including adjustments to mask protocols in our facilities.”

The rule will not apply to K-8 or elementary school students, although reports say changes could come to that group as soon as next week.

Officials with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools will consult with science experts and review protocols on a weekly basis to identify opportunities for further relaxation, including adjustments to mask protocols inside facilities.

Coronavirus cases in Miami-Dade County among students have certainly shown a significant decline.

Reports show there were just 47 positive student cases as of Monday.

Statistics on Sept. 3 (coinciding with the Labor Day weekend) showed 12,080 new cases of coronavirus (a seven-day average of 1,726) in Miami-Dade County, while the latest statistics on Sept. 29 from The New York Times database show zero new cases that day and a seven-day average of 1,035.

The latest school decision is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade County, and advice from the Ad Hoc Public Health and Medical Experts Task Force.

Miami-Dade County is one of nearly a dozen school districts in Florida requiring all students to wear masks, unless they have a medical exemption. That ruling also goes against DeSantis’ executive order banning schools from mandating masks.

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