MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As children all over South Florida prepare to head back to school from winter break, COVID infection cases are skyrocketing. But both Broward and Miami-Dade school districts are trying to make things a little safer and ensure their employees knows their status.
"We will be given out test kits for teachers today and this coming week we will actually be distributing these test kids to parents," said Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
He adds they are not taking any chances and instead preparing for the first day back to school by making sure they reopen with as little impact from the coronavirus as possible.
"Look, we cannot revisit last year and last year as a result of surge in cases of COVID-19 virus, we in fact had to shut down schools," said Carvalho.
As part of the effort to prevent another shutdown, on Sunday, the school district began distributing about 10,000 at-home COVID tests across six different locations to their employees.
Broward County Public Schools also had a similar at-home COVID test distribution for their employees and both districts have reason to be concerned.
"There's a crisis in America, there's a crisis in our community, omicron has impacted America in a very severe and deep way," added Carvalho.
That impact can be seen in the latest COVID statistics, which show from December 24-30 there were 298,455 new COVID cases. The number more than double from the previous week of December 17-23 when the new COVID case count was 125,201. And, on New Year's Eve the state added an addition 56,865 cases. Numbers that had many on high alert.
"We're not going to emerge from this crisis unless everyone has an active role in it and that is not solely the responsibility of the school board it's the responsibility of the entire community and together, we will emerge out of this stronger," said Carvalho.
In addition to testing, both districts are encouraging students and staff get vaccinated and social distance.
Broward County has also issued a mask mandate for all school visitors and vendors.
And while they say they could not implement a mask mandate for students and teachers, they are encouraging both groups to wear masks.
Miami-Dade County school made it mandatory for all adults to wear mask on school property. They also cited Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order banning a mask mandate.
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