Nearly 600 Miami-Dade County Public School employees have tested positive for COVID-19

Miami Herald | by Colleen Wright |August 19, 2020

Almost 600 Miami-Dade County Public Schools employees have tested positive for the novel coronavirus from March through July.

Spokeswoman Natalia Zea confirmed Wednesday that the district’s risk management department, tracking claims made to health insurance, reported 578 cases since the district began collecting that data.

She did not break down that figure on which of the district’s 40,000 employees, the largest employer in the county, contracted the virus.

That figure is a significant jump from July, when Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s chief of staff said only 100 employees had come down with the virus.

Colleen Wright @Colleen_Wright
·.@mdcps will release guidance on what kinds of masks meet minimum requirements that are appropriate for school. @miamisup says the district is acquiring stock of masks Carvalho has mentioned before that masks could become a part of the school uniform, made in school colors/logos154Colleen Wright @Colleen_Wright·.@mdcps Chief of Staff Jaime Torrens says 100 employees out of a workforce of 40,000 are COVID-19 positive. That number is from about a week or so ago, according to @MiamiSup.21

Phyllis LeFlore, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1184, represents the school district’s maintenance workers, bus drivers and food service workers. She counted a little more than a dozen positive cases among members in her bargaining unit.

According to LeFlore’s count, two food service workers, three security guards working in the school district’s downtown Miami headquarters and no more than six custodians have tested positive for coronavirus.

“They’re bringing it from home and they’re bringing it into the workplace,” she said. “They’re not getting it from the school system.”

LeFlore said these few positive cases have resulted in sending a whole staff home because one employee tested positive.

A spokeswoman for the United Teachers of Dade said it has not kept track of how many educators have tested positive. Last month, the teachers’ union announced at least one educator died from coronavirus.

Al Palacio, president of FOP 133, the union for the Miami Dade Schools Police Department, said seven police officers reported that they tested positive.

MDCPS decided to start the 2020-21 school year fully online and pushed back its start date by a week to Aug. 31. School leaders will reassess by the end of September whether to open schools for in-person learning by Oct. 5.

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