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Coronavirus declared public health emergency by Governor
Local schools gear up for potential threat

In light of Governor Ron DeSantis’s declaring the Coronavirus, now called COVID-19, a public health emergency for the State of Florida, issuing Executive Order 20-51 on Sunday evening, school districts are on alert. Columbia County Schools Superintendent Alex Carswell issued a statement to parents to keep their children home if they show flu signs until they have been cleared by a physician. Other schools are soon to follow.

Two individuals in the State of Florida have now tested presumptively positive (A presumptive positive case has tested positive by a public health laboratory and is pending confirmatory testing at CDC) for COVID-19, including a resident of Manatee County and a resident of Hillsborough County. The Manatee County resident had no travel history that would put them at risk but further investigation is underway. The Hillsborough County resident had a travel history to Italy. Both are currently in isolation and awaiting results from the CDC whether they have the virus, according to a press conference by Governor Ron DeSantis regarding COVID-19 earlier today in Tampa. Another press conference is scheduled in Miami later today.

Suwannee School Superintendent Ted Roush said earlier today in an email that the Suwannee school district is monitoring communications from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), the Florida Department of Health, (FDOH) and The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), related to COVID-19-Coronavirus.  

Roush said, “At such time we are apprised with District specific guidance from the associated agencies, we will implement the best practices that are recommended.  Right now, the threat remains low.  As in all wellness prevention efforts, it is still being recommended that all precautionary measures related to flu prevention be practiced.”

Rex Mitchell, Hamilton Superintendent of Schools, is closely monitoring the situation and expected to release a statement later today, as is Madison County School Superintendent Shirley Joseph.

  In an email from Deputy Press Secretary to the Governor, Ryan Ash, asked residents to please visit the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at This remains the best and most up-to-date resource for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.

For any questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-(866) 779-6121 or emailing The Call Center is available Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.

CDC recommendations: Protect yourself and your community from COVID-19. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick.

According to the CDC, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

Shortness of breath

Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.


Below is a statment, received on March 5,from Madison County Schools in regards to the COVID19 (Coronavirus Disease).

Madison County School District Statement


The Madison County School District has met with the Madison County Health Department to determine steps to prevent the introduction and spread of the COVID-19 into our schools. Our first step is to heighten infection control. We will begin this process by strengthening our cleaning methods in our offices, classrooms, cafeterias and on school buses. Additionally, we will begin immediately reviewing strategies with our students to prevent the spread of a wide variety of infectious diseases.


District staff will receive guidance from the health department in developing steps to be taken should a case of the virus be identified in our county. At the present time the district is monitoring attendance and will be communicating updates routinely with the community.