ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A student at an Orange County private school has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first case locally in a private-school student and the first case in a school for the new academic year.
The student, a 9-year-old boy, attends Circle Christian School in Winter Garden. He was in class on Monday but developed symptoms by Tuesday, Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said by Tuesday the boy started developing symptoms.
Pino said he found out Wednesday at 6 p.m., after the boy’s parents told the school, who called the Department of Health.
Eight other students were exposed at recess when the students were not wearing masks. Students must wear masks inside the classroom.
“They all used masks in the classroom, but they all went to recess. And during recess, they didn’t use the mask,” Pino said.
The rest of the student’s class including the teacher is being quarantined, but school officials did ask the student’s desk mate to get tested. The school seats two students per desk.
In a prepared statement, Circle Co-founder and administrator said, ”Our objective is to walk wisely and faithfully through this season while responding decisively to the changing situation related to the Coronavirus.”
Pino said they will be opening a testing site in Lake Underhill by Monday that will be for students and teachers who have been exposed at school, as well as their families.
Pino said he knew this was inevitable.
“What is happening in our communities will happen in the schools,” he said.
Pino said within the past two weeks, nearly 300 Orange County children have tested positive for COVID-19, most of them between 14 and 17 years old. That brings the total count to a little more than 2,000.
Pino said 25% of those children never showed symptoms at all.
“What we don’t know is what is going to be the impact of asymptomatic kids in transmitting,” he said.
Pino said there is a plan in place to monitor and trace cases in schools, and it doesn’t just rely on parents or schools to call his department.
“There is one epidemiologist just assigned to the schools,” he said. “So this person will be canvassing the data constantly looking for cases younger than 18.”
And when they find, one, Pino said, they will call school administrators immediately, “and they have the ability to tell us where the child lives, what school the kid goes to, are there any siblings that are in any other schools so that we can pull those children.”
© 2020 Cox Media Group