BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A Boynton Beach charter school is noticing a dip in the number of students returning to the classroom after winter break.
However, a SouthTech Academy student is staying optimistic and remaining cautious as the spring semester begins.
Edelgika Lopez is a senior at the SouthTech Medical Sciences Academy.
She believes the hands-on instruction from teachers is an essential component to further her knowledge in the medical field.
“Everybody has maintained a really good and clean area around our desk,” said Lopez. “We go into our classroom and we have a spray and a paper towel. Everything has been really clean on the campus, so I'm not nervous at all to be here.”
About 13 percent of students at SouthTech Academy were absent on the first day back to school following winter break.
Principal Eileen Turenne is monitoring the latest conditions during the latest COVID-19 surge and managing students who are staying at home on quarantine.
“Our families are in communication with us regarding the different scenarios, and we're working with the students,” said Turenne. “We don't want them to ever feel like they’re far behind in their studies and can’t get caught up.”
Legally, schools in Florida are prohibited from mandating facial coverings for students, however, SouthTech Academy teachers are noticing that most students are opting to wear face masks in the classroom.
“The kids are very, very aware of what's going on in the world and taking initiative,” said Teresa Edgar, department head of the SouthTech Medical Sciences Academy. “They are cleaning their desk and trying to protect themselves. I think the overall feel is that they really do want to be in the classroom.”
Facial coverings are required for all school employees, vendors, and visitors while they are indoors.
A student who tests positive must stay home for 10 days and be symptom free, or have a negative COVID-19 test, or have a return to school note from a licensed healthcare professional.