January 7, 2022 – An Important Message for SCS Families
Good evening SCS families,
We hope you are enjoying the remaining days of winter break! Our district staff and school administrators have collaborated during the break to ensure plans are in place as we begin the second semester. Throughout this pandemic, we have witnessed that face to face attendance of students and employees is very important for student success and providing a high-quality education. All schools will be open and we will continue to have virus mitigation strategies in place. As our students prepare to resume classes on Tuesday, January 11, we wanted to remind families of the following key details regarding the school district’s COVID-19 protocols and mitigation efforts.
DOH Testing Locations
As a reminder, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota (DOH) in partnership with Sarasota County Schools is offering PCR testing for symptomatic staff or students for all public, private, and charter schools in Sarasota County. In certain situations, family members of staff or students may be eligible for testing. This testing will be available by appointment only.
To request a test, school staff or a student’s parent/guardian must complete the COVID‐19 Test Request form and email it to email@example.com.
DOH staff will contact you to provide an appointment time and location.
If you are unable to send the request form, please call 941‐861‐2941. When leaving a voicemail, please include your name and a return phone number.
The DOH form, as well as additional information related to COVID-19, can be found on the district website here: https://www.sarasotacountyschools.net/covid19. Please click the “COVID-19 Testing Site Info” link to go to the DOH form.
**Please note: DOH Testing Locations identified on the form remain the same, but hours of operation have been updated to the following:
- North Port: 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM, Monday – Friday
- Osprey: 8:30 AM to 1:40 PM, Monday – Friday
- Ringling: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Monday – Friday
SCS COVID-19 Resources
Sarasota County Schools has a dedicated online resource for all matters related to COVID-19 and the school district. Information about the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, community spread percentages, tools to help children cope with the disruptions of COVID-19, and much more can be found at: https://www.sarasotacountyschools.net/covid19.
Please note that the district’s COVID-19 dashboard has not been updated since employees & students were released for winter break on December 23, 2021. Updates will be made as soon as possible upon the start of school on Tuesday, January 11.
SCS COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts
- Wearing a face mask is optional, not mandatory, as per House Bill 1 which was signed into law. Please click here for more details.
- In an effort to mitigate transmission and keep students and employees in school, we are also providing the information below for your consideration:
- Per the CDC and DOH recommendations: Universal indoor masking is advised for all students (ages 2 years and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
- Social distancing will be implemented whenever possible.
- In accordance with the American Society of Heating, Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommendations to minimize the spread of COVID-19, SCS continued to use HEPA - MERV 13 air filters.
- Measures have been implemented to ensure that common work areas, equipment and personal workspaces are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Facilities Services has worked closely with SCS custodians to adjust their cleaning processes to better address current considerations. SCS custodians are using effective disinfectant and sanitizing products to clean our facilities every day. Along with these measures, they are taking the following steps to maximize our sanitizing efforts:
- Refreshed Cleaning Methods/Processes: SCS cleaning personnel are sanitizing and disinfecting restrooms more frequently. Their cleaning protocol includes thoroughly disinfecting and sanitizing all surfaces, doors, toilets, handles, etc., and ensuring that all supplies are always fully stocked.
- Increased Cleaning of High-Touch Surfaces/Points: SCS cleaning crews will be sanitizing high-touch surfaces/points thoroughly (i.e., door handles, glass, elevator buttons, doors, tables, chairs, light switches) nightly. In addition, daytime custodians have been instructed to continuously disinfect and sanitize all touch points throughout the day.
SCS COVID-19 Protocols: Student Contact Tracing & Quarantining
Sarasota County Schools’ contact tracing protocols are aligned with guidance from the State of Florida Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo. Parents or legal
guardians of students who are known to have been in direct contact with an individual who received a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 may choose one of the following options:
- Allow the student to attend school, school-sponsored activities, or be on school property, without restrictions or disparate treatment, so long as the student remains asymptomatic; or
- Quarantine the student. A quarantined student can return to school on/after the 8th day from exposure.
For complete details on COVID-19 protocols for students, please visit: https://www.sarasotacountyschools.net/covid19. Parents are encouraged to work with their student’s school and teacher(s) to pick up and/or access any materials (i.e., textbooks, workbooks, laptop, resources, etc.) that teachers deem necessary for students to continue instruction.
**Families, if you have the ability to do so, please consider driving your child to and from school as our community battles the Omicron variant. Though our school buses are cleaned thoroughly and regularly, a temporary decrease in the overall amount of bus riders may help reduce the rate of potential COVID spread on our buses.
We encourage everyone to continue to practice good health habits to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and the community. Working as one, we can ensure all our students have a great start to the second semester. We are confident the second half of the school year will be outstanding as our students learn, grow, and graduate. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding, and resilience as we work together to support our school communities!
—Sarasota County Schools