Miami-Dade County Public Schools announced a change in their quarantine policy on Wednesday. Starting Monday, middle school students will be subject to the same rule currently used for high school students, but despite state pressure, the district will not relax its mandatory mask mandate.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said on Wednesday that data shows the district’s COVID prevention protocols are working, and school administrators tell us they have received almost no refusals from parents.
“Families feel safer sending children to school with their masks on,” said Aillette Rodriguez-Diaz, deputy director of iPrep Academy. “They told me and expressed their sincere appreciation for the mask’s mandate.”
Carvalho held a press conference in which he displayed a series of charts showing how COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates have dramatically declined in Miami-Dade County.
“It’s a very powerful and positive trend,” Carvalho said.
That data led him to announce that asymptomatic middle school students would now only have to quarantine five days after direct exposure with an infected person instead of the previous 10-day quarantine standard. This still does not meet the state’s demand that parents should be able to decide whether to keep their children exposed to COVD home from school. Carvalho has said his district will not make unscientific changes to its Covid policy when lives are at stake.
“I continue to be unable to define what should be the pain threshold for our community, so one life lost is one too many,” Carvalho said.
Carvalho also spoke about a missing piece of money. The federal government had allocated $ 2.3 billion to Florida as part of the US bailout. Miami-Dade Public Schools were supposed to receive $ 800 million from this grant, to be used to improve mental health services, tackle the “COVID slide” of school regression and modernize school buildings and their HVAC systems. However, the state did not even ask for the free money.
“The need is there, the school regression is real, the social and emotional distress demonstrated by our students is very evident and the moral imperative to improve the physical facilities of our schools is ongoing, so we need this money to be accelerated and we think we can no longer wait, ”said Carvalho. “And we really haven’t received a response that in any way justifies or explains the state’s delay or failure to apply for this funding, it baffles us, it baffles us that Florida is the only member state of the union which has not done so.
The superintendent may question the state board of education about this funding on Thursday, when the district will have five minutes to explain to the board why it hasn’t made masks optional and doesn’t allow parents to make decisions about quarantine.