FORT PIERCE, Fla. — John Carroll Catholic High School in Fort Pierce is moving all students to virtual school after nine students tested positive for COVID-19.
Approximately 400 students attend the school.
In a letter to families, school staff explained that due to the large number of students that would have to be quarantined due to close contact with one of those students, “we have made the decision, after much consultation and prayer, that it is in the best interest of all members of our JCHS family to move to virtual instruction.”
The virtual school will begin Thursday for students. Teachers will be given the day Wednesday to prepare for the transition and students will have Wednesday off.
The virtual school will only last through Nov. 20. Students will return to school in-person after their Thanksgiving break.
This move is likely the first time a school in St. Lucie County has gone from having an in-person school option to a total switch to virtual.
“There really had been virtually no cases here at all, but it just happens,” said John Carroll parent, Donna Scott.
She had just recently sent her students back to school in-person after starting out the year virtually.
“We decided to send the kids back because they were doing such an awesome job with just keeping it under control and keeping the classrooms clean,” Scott said.
School leadership is now asking students and parents to be more careful about social distancing outside of school.
“We stress that many of the positive cases experienced by JCHS students likely did not occur on campus; rather, it seems that some of these exposures have taken place at ill-advised events and social gatherings outside of school grounds, when students are not wearing masks or following social distancing policies,” the letter said.
Sports games and practices will still be allowed.
Scott said keeping children home for a couple of weeks is especially reassuring before families gather for Thanksgiving, minimizing any potential risk of spreading the virus to family members.
“Everyone that I speak to says the same thing, that they’re really happy they made this choice,” Scott said.