Marianna K-8 welcomes students back after temporary shutdown due to COVID-19 exposures

Jackson County

MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — The Marianna K-8 School welcomed its students back on Monday after a temporary shutdown due to COVID-19 exposures.

Earlier this month, the K-8 had to close its doors after more than 300 students and teachers were asked to quarantine.

Jackson County Superintendent Steve Benton said he feels like the temporary shutdown combined with Thanksgiving break helped the K-8 school recover from the quarantine spike.

“With it sitting vacant, especially for the last nine-10 days, they’re all disinfected and sanitized and it’s going to make a big difference out there,” Benton said.

Benton said the current mask policy in the district calls for masks to be worn by sixth through twelfth graders in the halls. However, the quarantine spike mainly affected elementary grades at the Marianna K-8 school.

“Well if it continues to get on the rise, we’re going to have to do something different,” Benton said.

Benton said he feels like even younger grades should be wearing face masks during the school day but wants to assess the needs of each school before making changes.

“I just want to make sure that I work individually with each principal, with each school, and see if we can find some preventative measurements and things that can at least slow it down some,” Benton said.

Officials said they also want to look into potential points of contact outside of school, like extracurricular activities at the Mear Project.

“They’re still playing baseball and everything out there at the Mear project and I don’t know if that’s causing a lot of the contacts or what, but I want to make sure we look into it,” Benton said.

According to the Florida Department of Health in Jackson County, as of today, there are six staff and 10 kids still under quarantine from the Marianna K-8 school.

Benton said it will take some time to come up with the best plans for each school and says he is hopeful the upcoming winter break will give them more time to figure it out.

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