Orange County schools reported a drastic, 90% decrease in COVID-19 cases from month to month.
According to Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins, as of February 1, 115 new COVID-19 cases were reported among students and 37 cases were reported among employees. Comparatively, over 1,000 students tested positive at the beginning of January when classes resumed after the holidays.
“We are pleased to see those numbers coming down,” said Jenkins during a Wednesday press conference held by Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings.
Jenkins says that in an effort to keep workforce absence at a minimum, masks are mandatory at schools across the district among adults through the month of February.
Additionally, as of February, students must attend school unless they are sick, symptomatic, or test positive for COVID-19. Any students who are symptomatic or test negative may not receive excused absences from their respective schools.
Jenkins emphasized the need for students to be in classrooms and suggested it is less “efficient for teachers to try and manage students” both outside and inside of the classroom simultaneously.
She added that absenteeism had decreased and was close to what it was in previous years. According to Jenkins, the district was hovering in excess of 20% absenteeism and at last count, is now lower than 9% once again.