PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — As students return to Palm Beach County public schools on Tuesday after Spring Break, they are seeing even more relaxed COVID-19 protocols.
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Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Superintendent Mike Burke said contact tracing is officially over in the School District of Palm Beach County.
Parents will still be notified if there is a positive COVID-19 case in their child's class.
In addition, facial coverings are now considered "optional" instead of "strongly encouraged," and school nurses will still test symptomatic students who have a consent form on file.
There is also a program in place in dozens of Palm Beach County public schools called "Test To Know."
If a child is exposed to COVID-19, parents can give permission to have their child tested for up to five days. If they test negative, they can go right back to class.
The "Test To Know" program is a way to give parents and guardians peace of mind without keeping their child home.
"We do have an attendance issue, so that's probably pretty concerning," said Keith Oswald, the School District of Palm Beach County's chief of equity and wellness. "We know a number of families are going to keep their kids home when they are exposed. We want to get those kids back in school. So this is a great strategy that is more sustainable to make sure these kids are able to come back to school."
Some Palm Beach County public schools also have the "Test To Know" program in place to screen employees for COVID-19.
The biggest hurdles to get the program at every school are the logistics and staffing to make it happen, Oswald said.