Brevard Public Schools Closed, Extracurricular Activities Canceled Through March 30 Due to COVID-19

By  //  March 13, 2020

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CORONAVIRUS: LATEST NEWS AND FAQs

SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Mark Mullins provided an update earlier this week on what Brevard Public Schools is doing in response to the threat of coronavirus.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard Public Schools officials announced that schools will remain closed to students for an additional week following spring break, at the direction of the state.

Students will not return before Monday, March 30.

Effective March 16, extracurricular activities including sports have been canceled until at least March 30.

No external groups such as clubs or churches will use facilities during that time.

The school district will use the additional week to deep-clean all facilities and strengthen plans for continuing instruction remotely in case of extended campus closures due to COVID-19.

Brevard Public Schools officials said the district is reviewing employment contracts and determining which employees will be essential to work the week of March 23.

CORONAVIRUS: LATEST NEWS AND FAQs

SELF-ISOLATION ORDERED: BPS has adopted the following guidance issued March 13 from the Florida health and education departments:

Any students, faculty or staff who go on a cruise, anywhere, must self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
Any students, faculty or staff who go on foreign travel, to any country, must self-isolate for 14 days upon return.

EXCUSED ABSENCES: Students who are absent because they have been directed to self-isolate will received medically excused absences if they provide doctor’s notes, travel documents, or other information that shows the reason. Schools will work with students who face problems getting such paperwork.

FIELD TRIPS: All field trips and overnight athletic events have been canceled by Brevard Public Schools through April. This is to reduce risk of the spread of COVID-19.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: Travel restrictions and directions for self-quarantine are determined by the Florida Department of Health and federal agencies, not BPS. Please see the latest travel advisories at:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How is Brevard Public Schools responding to the threat of coronavirus?

BPS is reviewing and executing its pandemic-response plan, which was developed in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Health, and the Florida Department of Education.

Following that plan, BPS has taken steps such as:

• Establishing daily, ongoing communications with the Florida Department of Health and Brevard County Emergency Management.

• Educating students, staff and families about how to reduce the spread of the virus.

• Preparing teachers to continue our schools’ education mission in case campuses must close.

• Preparing other essential personnel to work remotely.

The plan’s overall goals are:

• Reduce illness and death from an outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by this coronavirus.

• Minimize damage to student learning and the local economy that could ensue from weeks-long school closures.

BPS’ pandemic-response plan is based on epidemiological modeling and employs scientifically proven strategies from public-health experts.

When would schools close and how long would closures last?

The Florida Department of Health would give the recommendation to close schools, and BPS would respond swiftly.  The direction could apply to individual campuses, clusters of them, or the entire district.

Schools would close if health officials identify enough confirmed but unrelated cases to count as “community spread.” The goal would be the “social distancing” of students and staff in order to limit the spread illness.

If schools close, expect closures to last at least two weeks and potentially as long as six weeks – much longer than for hurricanes.

Schools probably will not close as long as the Department of Health determines that quarantining individual people who are sick or are at high risk remains effective.

What is BPS doing about students and staff who travel?

BPS has canceled all School Board-approved field trips that involve air travel. Board-approved trips typically involve bands, sports teams, robotics teams and school clubs that travel to out-of-state competitions and performances.

The directive does not apply to privately organized and paid tours or trips that might involve school faculty and groups students. Parents or faculty who need further clarification should call their principals, who will know the difference.

International ravel restrictions and directions for self-quarantine are determined by the Florida Department of Health and federal agencies, not Brevard Public Schools.  Please see the latest travel advisories at:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html

What are schools doing to prevent possible transmission of the coronavirus?

Brevard schools are teaching handwashing and hygiene, making sure restrooms remain stocked with soap and paper towels, and continuing to clean and disinfect student areas in ways that reduce transmission of viruses such as the flu and coronavirus.

BPS has sent instructions on proper handwashing and hygiene to all families by email, flyer, and social-media posts.

BPS has instructed all head custodians to make soap readily available for all students and staff.  A team of training custodians has visited schools where BPS received reports of empty soap dispensers. All are now in compliance.

Brevard schools were already instructing students and staff on best practices for preventing transmission of respiratory and other illness such as the most recent wave of flu:

• Avoid close contact with others who are sick;

• Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing;

• Wash your hands often with soap and water.  If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer;

• Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth as germs are spread this way;

• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs; and

• Avoid sharing food and drinks with others.

Will quarantined or “self-isolated” students get excused absences? 

While schools remain open, any students who are quarantined or directed to self-quarantine following travel will have their absences excused after they are cleared to return to school by their doctor and/or the Florida Department of Health. It will work the same as getting a doctor’s note to have absences excused.

BPS has not offered to excuse absences that are not based on direction from state or federal health authorities.

Has my school been kept informed of developments?

All Principals have been briefed by the Florida Department of Health on COVID-19 and steps their schools can take to help keep students and staff healthy. They are among the first to know about district decisions on issues such as travel.

For more answers

The Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Call Center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight at 1-866-779-6121 or by email COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

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