Orange County no longer excuses absences due to omicron surge

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County parents will no longer be able to keep their kids home from school because of the omicron surge.

The district said the positivity rate is down across the county.

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The change means no more excused absences for thousands of students.

Before the winter semester, Orange County Public Schools gave parents the option to have students skip class during the omicron surge.

READ: Orange County schools extends mask requirement for all adults

“We were very sensitive to the fact that parents were concerned. The positivity rate was 40%+ in Orange County,” said Scott Howat, a OCPS spokesperson.

Channel 9 found out that about 8,000 students haven’t been at school since winter break.

“Another 35,000 have missed at least five days and that could be because they were sick and if so, we want them to stay home,” Howat said.

READ: Free N95 masks: Which pharmacies have them, when will they be giving them out?

If students weren’t sick, they could stay home and every absence would be excused as long as they kept up with their homework. That option ends Monday.

“If they are well, we want them to return to face-to-face instruction. It’s important and we know it means a lot to their academic success,” Howat said.

Now instead of simply doing homework, students will receive proper instruction from teachers to accompany the workload.

READ: Orange County Public Schools will no longer provide excused absences due to increased COVID-19 cases

If you are still concerned about sending your child to school, the district said you can home school your child.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.