Orange County

26 students who were supposed to quarantine mistakenly return to class, health officials say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Several middle school students who were exposed to COVID-19 last week showed up to school Monday because they didn’t know, Orange County health officials said.

It happened at Bridgewater Middle School, where a total of 26 students who were not supposed to be there showed up.

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The families of the students never received their quarantine letter over the weekend, so they went to school on Monday.

“We’ve been hearing this not just at Bridgewater but from teachers at other schools, that students show up when they got a quarantine letter,” union president Wendy Doromal said. “Their parents didn’t know that they were notified yet, so there’s kind of a miscommunication.”

On Tuesday, a health department spokesman said via email the epidemiology program is reviewing what happened, but also said information related to the case is private information.

The health department did not say if a similar mistake happened in the past.

An OCPS spokesman told Eyewitness News that he did not have knowledge of the same mistake happening at another school.

While health department officials admit the mistake was on their end, they also said they have a system in place that caught it.

Orange County health officer Dr. Raul Pino said the letter that was supposed to be sent to the principal about which students needed to be quarantined on Saturday was never sent out.

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When the department followed up with a call to those students' parents to check on them and offer testing, the parents had no idea their kids had been exposed last week.

Pino said the students were quickly separated from others at school sometime in the morning.

Cierra Putman

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

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

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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