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The Okaloosa County School District has confirmed one of its employees is among the 69 county residents now suffering with the coronavirus.
Superintendent Marcus Chambers said confirmation came as of Monday afternoon. He declined to specify further, referring questions to the Florida Department of Health.
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County schools have been closed since March 16, and following last week’s Safer at Home order from the governor the district significantly reduced on site staffing at individual schools to “a skeleton administrative and custodial staff” of approximately three or four people, Chambers said.
Food service employees are also reporting to schools where meals are being provided, he said.
District spokesman Steve Horton said the employee who tested positive had visited a school location just once in the last 10 days.
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“School operations continue to be identified as an essential activity by the State of Florida, and we are still working with families to keep students engaged in the learning process,” Chambers said. “This means providing computers to families in need, helping with internet access and providing daily meal service at 15 sites and seven bus stop hub routes, all of which take staff on site to accomplish.”
Chambers indicated the employee confirmed to be sick Monday was the first district staff member to test positive for COVID-19. In mid-March an educator who was also a military reservist was placed under two weeks quarantine when it was learned she might have been exposed to the deadly virus.
The Okaloosa County branch of the Florida Health Department did not provide additional details about the School District employee who tested positive and would not say whether a particular school had been impacted.
Spokeswoman Allison McDaniel did say in an email that when an employee at any business tests positive for COVID-19, the DOH provides guidance on disinfection and cleaning of the facility.
That guidance includes:
Closing off areas used by the person who is sick.
Opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area and waiting 24 hours before cleaning or disinfecting.
Cleaning and disinfecting all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines.
Chambers said there are no plans at present to eliminate all staffing at the county’s schools.
“We will continue to review guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Department of Education and the CDC and take all the measures we can to keep our employees safe,” he said.