• January 7, 2022 – An Important Message for SCS Employees 

    Good evening SCS Employees, 

    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 we all prepare to return to work next week and welcome students back on Tuesday, January 11, please note 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 COVID19 Test Request form and email it to dohsrqcovid19@flhealth.gov
    DOH staff will contact you to provide an appointment time and location. 
    If you are unable to send the request form, please call 9418612941. 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 optionalnot 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 for Employees

    • If you are sick or experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, please consider staying home and seeking medical attention. Inform your supervisor as soon as possible so they have adequate time to prepare & plan.
    • As a reminder, all district employees were declared as essential workers on August 22, 2021.
    • Exposure to COVID-19
      • Staff who test positive for COVID-19 can end isolation 5 days after their symptom onset (or test, if asymptomatic) as long as they are:
        • fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication
        • AND other symptoms have significantly improved (with the exception of loss of taste/smell)
      • If the staff member continues to have a fever or their other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, they should wait to end their isolation until they meet the above criteria.
      • After this 5-day isolation, staff should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days. If they are unable to wear a mask, they will need to stay home for 10 total days. 
    • COVID Days
      • Sarasota County Schools is still providing up to 10 COVID days for the 2021-2022 school year to vaccinated staff if they need to isolate due to a positive diagnosis, or if they need to care for an isolated dependent.  
      • Unvaccinated employees who are COVID positive – or have to care for an isolated dependent child – will be allowed to work from home if approved by their supervisor. Otherwise, they will need to use their accumulated time. 

    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 school communities 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 students & families!

    —Sarasota County Schools