Education

Olympia High School closed for two weeks after positive COVID-19 cases, 156 asked to quarantine

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — This Labor Day weekend, Orange County Public Schools and the Department of Health announced Olympia High School would close for two weeks, due to COVID-19 cases.

Students in face-to-face learning will pivot to the district’s virtual option, LaunchEd@Home.

The district said this was done out of an abundance of caution.

Read: Orange County health department told to stop releasing school COVID-19 case numbers, health officer says

OCPS was closed Monday for the holiday, but before this closure was announced the superintendent told the medical advisory committee there was no set metric for when to close a school.

On Tuesday, when other students return to class across Central Florida, there will be empty hallways at Olympia High School.

Six people were confirmed coronavirus positive at the school and a total of 156 people were told to quarantine. Nearly 14% of school attendees were either quarantined or put in isolation.

Golfview Elementary closure extended through the week due to COVID-19

But there was no “magic number” that resulted in the school closing.

Last Tuesday, a member of the medical advisory committee, Dr. Annette Nielsen, asked a simple question, “at what point would we actually need to close a school?”

Superintendent Barbara Jenkins told the medical advisory committee that multiple factors will influence a decision, but there is no metric from the Florida Department of Health or the local branch of the department in Orange County.

According to a statement from OCPS, “this decision [to close] is out of an abundance of caution” and “these cases are a result of community spread and not spread at school.”

Read: Photo showing Orange County Public Schools staff member wearing face shield without mask causes stir online

The health department will also offer free drive-thru COVID-19 testing in the parking lot of Olympia High School through a mobile testing unit.

Due to the closure, breakfast and lunch will be available for pickup at Chain of Lakes Middle School beginning Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will continue through Sept. 18, officials said.

Cierra Putman

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.

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