OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Unvaccinated Okeechobee County school students who come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be forced to quarantine during the 2021-22 school year.
The Okeechobee County School District released its health and safety protocols for the upcoming school year Tuesday, including the district's response to the surging COVID-19 numbers in Florida.
Under the protocols set forth in the four-page document, fully vaccinated students and staff will not be required to quarantine if they are identified as having close contact with someone who has tested positive, provided that the vaccinated individual doesn't develop symptoms.
But any unvaccinated student who comes into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must quarantine away from school for a minimum of 14 days from the last date of contact, even if he or she receives a negative test during the quarantine period.
However, unvaccinated district employees who have close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 "will not be excluded from work until they become symptomatic."
The district defines close contact as being "within six feet for 15 minutes or more."
Because of a recent executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis, parents may choose whether they want their children to wear a mask in school. Okeechobee County schools will provide a mask for anyone who wishes to wear one.
Vaccinations are also optional, but the vaccine will be available at Okeechobee High School and Osceola Middle School.