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Pasco schools, health department create first of its kind 'COVID Command Center'

Eleven members of the county health department will work side-by-side with school district staff in a building directly behind the main district office.

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — Next Monday, more than half of Pasco County’s nearly 75,000 students are expected to head back to the district’s 96 schools.

Keeping track of all of those students, teachers and other staff members will be a huge job, especially when it comes to contact tracing if and when people start getting sick.

To coordinate the massive effort, Pasco schools are creating a first of its kind "COVID Command Center" with the Florida Department of Health.

“We’re doing something kind of novel,” Assistant Superintendent Ray Gadd said. “I don’t think any other school district has done it.”

Eleven members of the county health department will work side-by-side with school district staff in a building directly behind the main district office.

“We’re going to have our COVID team their COVID team working together in our buildings with a universal number,” Gadd said.

The command center will be equipped with a health department hotline so school employees and parents can make immediate contact at the first sign of anyone getting sick.

"This way if we have a problem in our schools, we will actually be sitting with the health department so that we can make sure there’s no communication breakdowns," Gadd said.

The whole idea is quick communication and rapid response so any COVID cases can be isolated before they have a chance to further spread.

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