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Close-contact rule could lead to more quarantines in Marion County schools

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Marion County health department administrator Mark Lander explained the state guidance on COVID-19 close contacts to the School Board on Thursday. Image: MCPS via YouTube

COVID-19 quarantine requirements significantly affected three Marion County public schools this week.

And School Board members worry that a new understanding of state guidelines could lead to even more disruption.

At West Port High, 110 students are in quarantine after one tested positive on Friday. Liberty Middle School has 56 in quarantine after two cases there.

And Reddick-Collier Elementary has sent its first and fifth grade classes home for virtual learning after multiple cases at the small school.

At a meeting Thursday, School Board member Nancy Thrower urged the community to help prevent such disruptions.

“This is tiring,” she said. “There’s COVID fatigue, I’m sure. But keep those masks up. Take those mask breaks when you can. Wash your hands. Do your social distancing. This is not over.”

Meanwhile, the district has new guidance on who should be quarantined as a close contact for spending at least 15 minutes within six feet of an infected person. The 15 minutes is not a one-time exposure, as they supposed, but can add up from multiple encounters throughout the day.

That could mean more quarantines.


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


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.