STUART, Fla. — The Martin County School District is pleading to parents to keep their sick students home from school.
District officials say symptomatic students as well as those who live with family members awaiting COVID-19 test results should not be on campus.
"As parents, we need to do our part and keep your kids from going if they're not feeling well," said Jose Garcia, father of two kids.
Health department officials have determined that the coronavirus is spreading more rapidly among students off-campus and at social activities than inside the classroom.
Garcia said he understands that it's not always convenient to keep kids home from school.
"I wish everybody would follow the guidelines but it's hard," said Garcia. "Parents have to work."
He said it's important for parents to know that more lives are being affected than just their own children.
"You have to remember if you send your kid, then they're going to be in a class with how many others and they're all going to have to quarantine after that so," said Garcia.
Now, the school district is urging parents to enforce CDC guidelines when students are at home and away from class.
"What we're seeing, especially on the weekends and in the evenings, is that the students are getting together either indoors or having sleepovers or get together parties and they're not adhering to social distancing guidelines," said Don Calderone, Risk and Benefits Specialist, MCSD.
Officials said if students are showing symptoms or are living at home with someone awaiting test results that they should stay home.
"One of our main messages is for parents to not let your guard down," said Julie Sessa, Coordinator of Risk Management and Employee Benefits, MCSD. "That social distancing and wearing masks is very important to eliminate the spread and so outside activities off-campus we want to make sure that they follow the risk mitigation strategies that we have during the school day."
Since the first day of school in Martin County on Aug. 11, district officials said 607 students have been sent home to quarantine.
That includes 69 students that were sent home this week.