Staff Report

MIAMI-After reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) that several cases of the Zika Virus were detected in a one-mile square area in Wynwood, Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials have reported that precautions are being taken to protect students attending a small number of public and charter schools that are in the area.

As the first day of school approaches on Aug. 22, M-DCPS is working in consultation with the CDC, the FDOH, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), and Miami-Dade County to help curtail the spread of the virus.

Since the application of mosquito repellent is not currently allowed in schools, the District proposed protocols will focus on parent education and application of repellent prior to arriving at school. Also, in preparation for the opening of schools, the FDOH is ordering additional mosquito repellent for distribution to families of children who attend the currently impacted schools.

On the first day of school, the FDOH will have representatives at each school within the affected area to answer questions and provide mosquito repellent to parents/guardians who express a need.

As it relates to students’ uniforms, principals will relax policy and allow students to wear long-sleeved shirts. A voucher program is available for students who can’t afford to purchase uniforms. This will be determined at the school-site level, on a case-by-case basis.

M-DCPS will consult with the FDOH and the County regarding outdoor activities including physical education, recess, and after school activities. The District will make adjustments as warranted. The district will remain on the look-out for standing water and eliminate it accordingly; while continuing the use of mosquito dunks, mosquito control products that kill mosquitoes during the larvae stage and prevent their development for 30 day intervals.

To help educate students, the District will share the Spill The Water! mosquito prevention campaign with all students. The information and resources included encourage students to cover up and spill sources of standing water around their homes. The campaign includes a short video, a teacher tool, and corresponding activity sheets for students in pre-K through high school.