How To Keep More Students In School

One of the many challenges school district officials throughout the nation are facing is coming up with strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom.

School District of Palm Beach County Superintendent Mike Burke said when they have positive cases on campus they have to do contact tracing, and they end up sending home a lot of students who were potentially exposed.

He admits that’s a large burden on schools and parents.

“We are sending home, on any given week it had been as high as 5,000 students. This week it’s been more about 2,500,” Burke said. “These students that we’re sending home to be safe so they’re not at risk of spreading the virus.”

He adds the vast majority of those students remain negative and the unintended consequences are that they are missing out on instructional time and falling behind.

The superintendent shared the information with the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County during a Zoom call Wednesday afternoon.

He also shared information about a program called “Test To Stay” that could help keep healthy kids in school.

“How that would work is rather than send the student home for five days that we would test the student for five days and they would have to be tested at the beginning of school,” said Burke. “Upon arrival, you would try to do a rapid antigen test of the student and if it’s confirmed to be negative we will allow the student to continue on to their class.”

District officials are just talking about the program right now and it has not been implemented.