MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. – More than 100 students from Palmetto High School were sent home after a teacher tested positive for the coronavirus, district leaders confirmed with ABC Action News Tuesday night.
According to Manatee County School Board Member Dr. Scott Hopes, the teacher (Teacher 1) tested positive before the school year began and the teacher had lunch with another teacher (Teacher 2).
Teacher 2 was unknowingly infected and has been teaching on campus for the past two weeks.
All students who take in-person classes from Teacher 2 were sent home as a precaution, district leaders confirmed with ABC Action News.
Those students will quarantine for two weeks.
Dr. Hopes calls this a teachable moment for the school district.
"It hurts. A hundred students in this particular program, it hurts," said Dr. Hopes.
Hopes says a contact tracing investigation revealed staff members were not following social distancing guidelines, potentially infecting dozens of students.
"This is an exception," said Hopes. "It was avoidable. It’s been corrected. It should not recur here or in any other school."
The school is now enforcing new social distancing measures, including seating charts, in the wake of this week’s COVID-19 exposure.
Hopes says the number of students impacted by this exposure is about eight percent of the overall student population learning on campus.