Home News 17 Employees Have Died From COVID in a Florida School District Since August

17 Employees Have Died From COVID in a Florida School District Since August

17 Employees Have Died From COVID in a Florida School District Since August

Seventeen employees in a Florida school district have died from Covid-19 since the beginning of the school year in August, officials said Wednesday.

Of the staff who died at the Polk County Public Schools, 12 of the 17 had returned to their jobs when the school year began on Aug. 10, said Kyle Kennedy, a district spokesman. The remaining five employees never reported to their jobs this school year.

The district is unaware of how the employees contracted Covid, Kennedy said.

“The pandemic continues to severely impact our community, and many public servants – including educators, healthcare staff, rescue workers, and law enforcement officers – are experiencing tragic losses,” the district said in a statement.

“Every death is a devastating blow to our community and reinforces the need for all people to continue taking precautions to reduce the spread of illness.”

Polk County is in central Florida, between Tampa and Orlando, and includes the cities of Lakeland and Winter Haven. Its school system is among the 30 largest in the country and serves about 106,000 students, according to the district’s website. Kennedy said the school system has about 14,000 employees.

According to the district’s Covid-19 dashboard, as of Aug. 23, there have been 3,855 total confirmed Covid cases in the school system, which includes 3,424 students and 431 employees. Since Aug. 23, 21,536 people have been quarantined because of Covid, which includes 20,979 students and 557 employees, per the district’s dashboard.

Masks are optional for students and staff in the district, Kennedy said. Gov. Ron DeSantis has banned mask mandates in the state and threatened to penalize districts that attempt to enforce masking.

School board member Lynn Wilson told NBC affiliate WFLA in Tampa, “It’s a terrible tragedy, it really is.”

“Our hands are tied,” Wilson said. “The reality is, you can’t enforce a mask policy. I know a lot of folks wanted a mask policy. I think the real key was allowing a virtual option and we couldn’t do that either.”

The ban on mandating masks is still making its way through the courts, with a judge ruling last month the state must immediately stop enforcing DeSantis’ ban, only to see an appeals court days later say it could be enforced as it’s challenged.

Polk County Public Schools has air purifiers in every classroom, WFLA reported. It is also installing 50,000 desk shields in elementary schools. The project should be completed in November, the district said in a statement.

“Using federal funding, we are implementing this extra safety measure to help protect our K-5 elementary students, who often work in close proximity to each other and are not currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.”

Eskalera, a Startup Led by Goldman Sachs’ Former HR Head Has Launched a Diversity and Inclusion Index

Eskalera, a technology startup led by Goldman Sachs former human resources head Dane Holmes, has launched an index to measure corporate diversity and inclusiveness,...

HSBC to Remove 35,000 Jobs Amidst Covid-19 Crises

HSBC Holdings Plc has restarted cutting as many as 35,000 jobs, three months after the coronavirus outbreak forced it to pause a long-awaited overhaul...

Genpact Offers Its Internal Skill Training Program Globally for Everyone

Genpact has announced Adapt and Rise, a role-based online learning platform that leverages Genpact's expertise honed from delivering real-world change for hundreds of clients....

San-Francisco Based Learning Platform Degreed Has Raised $32 Million in New Funding

The upskilling platform, Degreed, has announced $32 million in new funding in direct response to overwhelming demand for better skill insights, talent mobility, and...

Research Shows the Implications of Workplace Layouts on Employee Productivity and Overall Performance

As some workplaces prepare for the gradual return of employees and overhaul office layouts and seating plans, research has shown this could also have...

Employee Concierge ‘Back Technologies’ Integrates Automation Into Internal HR and Other Support Tasks

Companies are under increasing pressure to automate workflows and digitally service their employees, particularly in light of trends toward remote work. It takes an...

HR Strategies to Help Your Business Navigate the New ‘Normal’

No business is immune to the massive changes resulting from the health crisis. Organizations have proven themselves to be agile, and employees have demonstrated...

The Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion In HR, Hiring, Talent Management: Thoughts From A Top Expert

Michael C. Hyter is one of today’s best-known experts on inclusion and diversity and the author of The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career and The...

HR Expert Highlights Actionable Steps to ‘Make Real Change’ Against Racism in Your Workplace

Kyra Leigh Sutton, Ph.D., is a faculty member at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, where she teaches human resources courses...

Adidas Employees Want Company to Investigate HR Chief for Response to Racial Issues

A group of Adidas employees from around the globe is asking the company to investigate its chief human resources officer, as part of a...