TAMPA, Fla. — After deciding to close Farnell Middle School Thursday and Friday due to a coronavirus scare, leaders with Hillsborough County Schools are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of students and staff.
The district said Thursday morning the school would be closed after a regular visitor came in contact with someone who tested positive for the new coronavirus, COVID-19. That person is not being identified.
This person has no symptoms but, as mandated by the health department, this person is now self-isolating and being assessed by the health department. This individual will not be allowed to return to the school until cleared by the health department.
"That's fantastic that we're taking it seriously. We're doing the right things,” said Tuyen Tu, who has a student at Farnell Middle.
Over the next 48 hours, the district said it is doing a deep clean of the entire school. The first step will be turning the air conditioning off for 24 hours so all the air particles can settle. Then, crews will use a hot thermal fog to pull anything that’s out of reach. All rooms will be wiped down, and surfaces will be cleaned with CDC-recommended chemicals. No one will be allowed to return until 24 hours after the last room is wiped down.
The district also has crews cleaning down 21 buses that service Farnell Middle and Bryant Elementary, which is next door. Crews are using steam-cleaners to sanitize the buses. District leaders made the decision to run bus routes for Farnell this morning to pick up any students who did not get the message that school would be closed. Any students at bus stops were brought to the school and fed breakfast before their parents were called to pick them up.
The district said the students were not at any risk.
Parents and staff at Farnell Middle School were notified of the school closure by email and phone call early Thursday morning.
District officials said there is no evidence that coronavirus is in any schools.
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