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Palm Beach County 'taking precautions' against coronavirus headed into primary election

Wendy Sartory Link says school polling locations will be stocked with gloves
Posted at 6:21 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 21:59:58-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Students and staff have the day off from school on Election Day this coming Tuesday, but questions are looming over what the district and supervisor of elections is doing to keep polling locations clean and sanitized in the fight against coronavirus.

Bear Lakes Middle School in West Palm Beach is one of several dozen schools being used Tuesday.

"We are taking precautions in terms of making sure that we have hand wipes or sanitizers," Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link said.

Sartory Link said each polling location will be stocked up with gloves for voters and poll workers to minimize skin-to-skin contact and skin-to-surface contact with the ballots, door handles and pens used to vote.

"We're not really using their equipment or touching their things, so I think as long as we get our stuff cleaned up when we leave, and I’ll coordinate with the school district to see if there’s anything additional we need to do,” Sartory Link said.

At a recent school board meeting with the Florida Department of Health, school board members asked about sanitation protocols after polls closed.

Dr. Alino Alonso said since COVID-19 is viral, there's no need to change air filters on campus, but that proper cleaning methods should be taking place before students and staff return.

In an email to WPTV NewsChannel 5, a school district spokeswoman said each school's custodial staff will be performing an enhanced cleaning after the polling site is closed Tuesday night, but didn't specify what those enhanced methods include.

The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections is finalizing a few locations that are relocating from assisted living facilities to other areas like schools or community centers. Sartory Link hopes to send a mailer notifying voters before Tuesday but recommends checking the website for the latest information.