PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — More than 1,000 Palm Beach County students have been told to stay home because of possible exposure to COVID-19, school district officials said Friday.
According to new numbers from the School District of Palm Beach County, as of 10:15 a.m. Friday, 1,020 students are at home.
A spokesperson said the school district puts students and staff members on a "stay-home directive" if it's determined they may have come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19.
The Florida Department of Health will then conduct contract tracing to determine who was exposed and who will need to stay in quarantine.
There have been 195 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County public schools, a rise from 134 in the morning update, since the 2021/22 academic year started Tuesday. Those cases include 159 students, up from 108, and 36 employees, up from 26.
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The new figures show that as of 10:15 a.m. Friday, 8,518 of the roughly 167,000 students enrolled in the district have opted out of wearing face masks in school.
Jupiter Community High School by far has the most students opting out of mask wearing with 906. That school is also tied for the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the district with six, all of them students.
Panther Run Elementary School and Wellington Community High School have the most coronavirus cases with seven a piece.
NEW NUMBERS:— Ryan Hughes (@HughesWPTV) August 13, 2021
After 4 days of school, the @pbcsd says 1,020 students are at home due to possibly being exposed to #COVID19. @HealthyFLPBC will do contact tracing to determine who was exposed and who will need to stay in quarantine. @WPTV @FOX29WFLX
Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an emergency order that gives parents the final say over whether their children should be masked in school.
Palm Beach County Superintendent Michael Burke on Thursday said he's concerned with the state of the pandemic and urged DeSantis to reassess the current situation regarding facial coverings in school.
"The governor's got to take responsibility for establishing the ground rules we're operating under," Burke said. "And this ability for families to opt out is leading to more cases, which is ultimately going to send more kids home and deprive them of that traditional classroom experience."
Burke added he suspects that COVID-19 cases in schools are going to grow "somewhat exponentially."
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To see the School District of Palm Beach County's updated COVID-19 dashboard, click here.
You can see a school-by-school breakdown of the number of Palm Beach County students who have to stay home in this chart: