7 News WSVN | by Alex Browning | February 2, 2021
VIRGINIA KEY, FLA. (WSVN) – Students and the United Teachers of Dade are reacting to the news that over 200 students and 25 teachers at the Maritime and Science Technology Academy on Virginia Key had to quarantine after contracting the coronavirus.
The Miami Herald first reported there were at least a dozen cases of COVID-19 at the school.
A sliver of the students returned to the campus on Monday morning.
“It’s really embarrassing that we’ve had so many students quarantine and so many teachers sent home,” said one student. “I think that a lot of kids are not being as responsible as we should be. I wasn’t very surprised. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t think it would be to such an extent.”
When asked if one student was nervous at school, another student replied, “Yeah, a little.”
“You really can’t control people once they leave the premises, and I think that’s partially why,” he said.
This is not the first COVID-19 scare at MAST Academy. Back in October, the campus was shut down due to the potential spread of the virus among students.
“This is really a fail on our community,” said United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats.
The mitigation measures are in place after apparent off-campus gatherings.
“We should not allow our students to conglomerate at parties, sleepovers and things of that nature because that is what is causing the widespread COVID in MAST Academy,” said Hernandez-Mats.
Saturday afternoon, Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson Daisy Gonzalez-Diego issued a statement that reads in part, “Close social gatherings or interactions with members outside of one’s household have been found to be the leading causes of spread, not in-person schooling. The District continues to urge our community to do their part to keep our schools free of COVID-19.”
Until vaccines are more widely available, the United Teachers of Dade is pleading with families to do their part.
“That’s why we’re asking our community to please support us. We need you to follow the CDC guidelines so that we do not continue to have disruptions in our education,” said Hernandez-Mats.
She also said they are seeing many groups of students being quarantined at other high schools in Miami-Dade County as it appears high schoolers are being careless when it comes to social distancing guidelines.
The United Teachers of Dade is also asking the school district to shut down campuses completely when there are massive case counts at a school campus.