Orange County schools may shut down again if COVID-19 cases spread

Video: Orange County schools may shut down again if COVID-19 cases spread

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Just days after students returned for face-to-face learning, an Osceola County school is closing its doors because of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among staff.

Orange County health leaders say it’s only a matter of time before it happens there.

It could take as little as three positives in one classroom to start shutting down schools.

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Orange County just finished its first week of in-person classes and health leaders said schools could go virtual in just two more weeks.

The decision to close would ultimately be up to the Osceola County School Board.

They would make that decision with a strong recommendation from the department of health.

Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said transmission of COVID-19 is fairly predictable.

After just one week of returning to the classroom, a Central Florida school is already going virtual.

Osceola County Public Schools said several teachers at Harmony Middle School have contracted COVID-19, so classes will be online for at least the next two weeks.

“That goes with the transmission cycle of the virus,” Pino said.

Pino said parents can expect to see the same happen in Orange County by mid-September.

He said it is happening all over the United States by the third week of face-to-face learning.

Pino said he will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and only recommend closing a school when there is proof of secondary transmission. That’s when a student or teacher tests positive, then two or more others in that classroom start to show symptoms.

“They would ultimately give us a recommendation, then we would take that back to the superintendent and the board would decide,” said Scott Howat of Orange County Public Schools.