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Treasure Coast prepares for new school year amid pandemic

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:51 PM EDT
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The Delta variant spike comes as school districts are deciding just how they will handle COVID-19 cases this fall.

Parents are keeping a close eye on the situation as the new school year is set to start in a few weeks.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus

"Masks are voluntary. Vaccines are voluntary," said Martin County School District Spokeswoman Jennifer DeShazo.

When students on the Treasure Coast return to campus in August, many families want to know what learning will look like if students are exposed to the coronavirus.

"They will not have the live lessons that some of them were able to access last year during quarantine because the teachers will not be teaching online," said Helen Wild, chief academic officer with St. Lucie Public Schools.

In both Martin and St. Lucie counties, students will be given a laptop and assigned school work online.

"They won't have the benefit of the teacher introducing the new material, but the materials themselves will all be available to them," Wild said.

MORE: Parents, doctors concerned about COVID-19 Delta variant ahead of new school year

New guidelines from the Florida Department of Health say that exposed students and staff who are not fully vaccinated will have to quarantine for 10 days, regardless of if they are asymptomatic.

"For individuals that are vaccinated and are asymptomatic, they're not experiencing any symptoms of illness, if they're identified as being a close contact of a positive case, they will not be required to quarantine as long as they remain without symptoms," DeShazo said.

Students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days will also be exempt from quarantine.

"If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, it is that our ability to provide students with instruction or to maintain their lessons when they're out from school for any reason has greatly improved," Wild said.

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