Parents raise concerns over increase in COVID-19 cases in Escambia Co. schools

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, parents of students in Escambia County, Florida are concerned and want the school district to do more to protect students and teachers.

“There is a big problem,” Cody Brown said. “I mean I’ve talked to many parents whose kids are out of school this week due to COVID.”

Brown’s son is a student at Kingsfield Elementary. Brown addressed the Escambia County school board this week. He says his children, other students, and teachers have been sent home until next week.

“This year, we’re not even a week in, and I’ve got to have my son out of school, he’s a first-grader, for a whole week,” Brown said. “Now my daughter is out of school as well due to being in close contact.”

Superintendent Tim Smith responded saying those students won’t fall behind.

“The state has actually issued a special attendance code if a student is quarantined this attendance code is an excused, and let me repeat that, excused absence,” Smith said.

Smith says those students sent home will be provided the ability to stay up to date on lessons through email and online links but Brown says he wants to see more mask-wearing and COVID-19 precautions in schools.

“If we have to do it together, we’ve got to do something,” Brown said. “We have to do something. I mean it’s an issue at hand. No one wants to do a mask every single day. No one wants to do it but I will do it to help protect the students.”

There are 390 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Escambia County which is about 100 more than the record set in January. Eleven of them are under the age of 18.

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