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Palm Beach County schools preparing for coronavirus through enhanced sanitizing

Posted at 1:41 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 00:05:38-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Palm Beach County School Board and district officials met Wednesday with the Florida Department of Health on how to keep the coronavirus, or COVID-19, out of the classroom.

“If we can have a Cat 5 staring at us for 24 hours we can definitely survive the coronavirus,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, the Florida Department of Health director in Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach County still remains at a low risk for the coronavirus despite several cases confirmed throughout the state. Alonso stresses that doesn’t mean you should disregard preventative measures or let your guard down.

“The motto in medicine is you plan for the worst hope for the best,” Alonso said.

The school district is doing just that by rolling out new plans to prevent COVID-19 from infecting its students or staff. They are stepping up cleaning methods and having teachers discuss healthy practices with their students in the classroom such as using a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing.

At Wednesday’s meeting, school board members raised concerns over upcoming schedule events like field trips and Spring Break. Thestate DOH is asking families to reevaluate any travel plans abroad.

“Hopefully we’ve given enough advice that people won’t be traveling to those affected countries,” said Alonso.

For families who don’t cancel travel plans abroad, the state DOH says they can expect a health evaluation upon reentering the U.S. and if anyone displays symptoms of the coronavirus, they will most likely be asked to self isolate for up to 14 days.

As for previously scheduled field trips, Donald Fennoy, the PBCSD superintendent, says he reserves the right to make to a decision up until the day of the trip and is doing so on a case by case basis.

School board members also raised concerns about schools being used as polling locations for the upcoming election on March 17. State DOH officials said they believe schools are currently going above and beyond in their cleaning methods and this shouldn’t deter people from getting out to vote.