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Alert to Marion County parents: Don't send your kids to school with COVID-19

Marion County School Board chair Nancy Thrower. Image: MCPS via YouTube
Marion County School Board chair Nancy Thrower. Image: MCPS via YouTube

Marion County is urging parents not to send kids to school if they’re sick or someone in their home may have COVID-19. 

The School Board sees a threat there that could wreck the start of the school year.

Four Marion County public school employees have died of COVID-19 in the past month.

And last week at least 93 students had the virus and 46 employees. That compares to 17 kids and seven workers in the first week last year.

Masks are not required in the schools.

So this alert sent by phone, text, email and Twitter featuring School Board chair Nancy Thrower is especially urgent.

"Please do not send your child to school if they are sick or if you are waiting for COVID-19 results for anyone in your household," she says in the alert. "Please wait for those results to come back before potentially exposing even more people to the virus."

Board members say some parents are sending kids to school knowing they have the virus.

Thrower says she understands it can be hard for working parents.

"But this old kind of wink-wink, Tylenol, send them to school," she said at a meeting on Thurday. "That ship has sailed, ‘cause we are looking at a devastating cost to this district and this community."

She says the board could face hard decisions, like whether to close schools or cancel bus routes for lack of drivers.

Nine members of the Transportation Department were positive for COVID-19 last week.


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.