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Manatee County school workers sent home after CÓVID-19 exposure

It was unclear how many people were sent home.

Several employees at a Florida high school are quarantining for 14 days after being exposed to the coronavirus on campus, the school’s principal said in a message to families whose children are starting school next week.

“We were alerted today that we had a confirmed case of COVID-19 on our campus,” Carl Auckerman’s Wednesday evening email to Palmetto High School parents said.

Using contact tracing, the Manatee County school district and the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County found that “a number of school employees” had direct exposure to the infected person, the Bradenton Herald reported.

“Direct exposure” means someone was within six feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes, according to the district’s guidance, which follows recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It was unclear how many people were sent home on Wednesday, the newspaper reported. The email said the “individual associated with the confirmed case is also isolated according to district protocols.”

He said the area of the campus where the person works will be “fogged and sanitized” on Thursday and employees who did not have direct contact will also return to work.

Teachers and paraprofessionals returned to work on Aug. 3 for training and preparations. Classes begin Monday for students, who have chosen to either return to campus, take full-time online classes or follow a hybrid schedule, which includes both in-person and online classes.

Another COVID-19 exposure surfaced on Aug. 3, which forced six employees at Samoset Elementary to isolate for 14 days. At least four other cases have come to light since that time, the district said in a recent statement.

The Palmetto principal told families the school is sanitized daily.

“While this is a setback, I want to assure you our school will be ready and excited for the first day of school on Monday,” the principal wrote.

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