August 13, 2021

To the Parents of the WCSD:

I want to thank everyone for a wonderful start to the 2021-2022 school year! The first few days are always special ones as we are excited to see our students and begin school year traditions! I want to thank everyone for being patient as we continue to make car lines, bus times, and other logistics as effective as possible.

Speaking of patience, we appreciate your support and flexibility as we continuously monitor COVID-19. This week, we received a new statewide Student COVID Decision Tree from the Florida Department of Education (FDOE). This decision tree looks slightly different from the Walton County tree, but many of the protocols are the same. This new statewide decision tree for students will go into effect for Walton County students on Monday, August 16, 2021. Here is an outline of the major changes for the new decision tree:

Direct exposure will now be defined within six feet for a cumulative time of 15 minutes of a positive case.

Any student fully vaccinated, or that has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, will NOT NEED to self-isolate or quarantine, if they are exposed.

Any student not fully vaccinated and exposed must quarantine:

7 days from date of exposure; if asymptomatic, the student can return on Day 8

OR

4 days from date of exposure; if asymptomatic, the student can test on Day 5 (Rapid or PCR) and return immediately with a negative test result (test must show the student’s name).

The new Student Decision Tree is posted on our website, and we will help walk you through it if your child is in close contact with a positive case. If your child is required to quarantine due to a school case, we will provide missed work for your child. The format of this work will be determined by your child’s school.

COVID-19 is a serious pandemic, and I know we are all ready for it to be “over”. Until the danger subsides, we will continue to remind students to make good choices at school, which include the successful use of mitigation strategies, such as hand washing, hand sanitizer, and social distancing. Students may also wear masks. At this time, screenings may be done randomly at schools, so we encourage parents to screen their children at home – checking temperatures and COVID symptoms. If students have a fever or other COVID symptoms, please keep students home. I know that is hard to do when you think they may be experiencing a minor condition, but this proactive step can make a huge difference. Our schools will also continue to clean appropriately and keep detailed seating notes, especially if contact tracing is needed.

We appreciate everyone’s flexibility. If and when additional protocols change, please know that our decisions are always based on data, new or revised best practices, and/or expert information. All decisions are made with our employees and students in mind, and in Walton County, safety is always our number one priority.

I am looking forward to all of us having a wonderful 2021-2022 school year. We will get through these challenging times together! Keep pressing 4wRd!

Please click the link below for the Student COVID Decision Tree.

COVID Decision Tree - FDOE