Parents, students pivot after closure of second Indian River County school

Treasure Coast Elementary School near Sebastian on Sept. 1, 2021.jpg
Posted at 1:36 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 17:05:34-04

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — The doors of a second Treasure Coast elementary school are closed on Wednesday because of an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Second grader Talon Johns said learning from home isn’t his favorite.

"Have to do school on the computer and that’s hard," Johns said. "I like to do learning on paper.”

His mom Erica knows it’s not ideal.

"He feels like it’s playtime. It’s not as structured and the rules are different," Erica Johns said.

But that’s the temporary reality for the 600-plus students at Treasure Coast Elementary School, west of Sebastian.

"We tried, we tried real hard," said Principal Scott Simpson.

Simpson said closing was a last resort.

"We teach and students learn. That’s why we’re here every single day," Simpson said. We honestly did everything we could to stay open especially this last week. But it’s not sustainable when you don’t have people to run the school."

In both situations involving school closures in Indian River County at Treasure Coast Elementary School and Beachland Elementary School, the percent of staff that was out was at 25%.

"Our teachers and staff bend over backwards to support our students and that’s what you’re seeing here," said Superintendent Dr. David Moore.

Moore said they need to be flexible as the numbers change on a daily basis.

"One week ago we had 24 faculty and staff positive. Yesterday we only had five," Moore said.

Kindergartner Naiyana Sawyers had just returned to school after a bout with COVID.

"She was throwing up and running a fever," said father Bruce Sawyers.

Sawyers said he’ll just transition from doctor to teacher's aide.

"It’s something we’ve been doing since last year since she was out of school for most of last year, so I’m just going to follow the guidelines from the teacher," Sawyers said.

Treasure Coast Elementary School is scheduled to reopen on Sept. 13, while Beachland Elementary School is set to reopen on Sept. 7.