Here's How Polk County Schools Plans to Conduct Temperature Checks of Students

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — As school districts across the Tampa Bay area prepare for the school year amid a pandemic, Polk County Schools released its plan to conduct temperature checks for students each day. 

However, how those checks will be conducted depends on the school. 

“Across the district, the number of students returning to campus to participate in face-to-face learning varies from school to school. The size of the on-campus population will be a factor in how many temperatures a school can check on a daily basis, but our goal is to screen as many students as possible,” Acting Chief Academic Officer Michelle Townley said in a press release. 

The temperature checks will be done in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health, and each school will aim to check at least 20 percent of its student body each day.  

Why 20 percent? The district says it's to make the task more manageable, especially at the district's largest schools. The thought process, according to the senior manager of prevention, health and wellness, Audra Kelley, is that by the end of the week, the entire student body would have been checked. 

Because the high schools in the district have the largest populations, they will also receive infrared wrist scanners to check temperatures as well. The district says the scanners read temperatures within seconds. The goal is to install the scanners at middle and elementary schools after each high school is equipped. 

If a student has a higher-than-normal temperature, they will then be evaluated by the school nurse. 

According to the CDC, one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 is a fever, which is why the district is taking the extra step to check student temperatures.  

Students in Polk County are set to return to the classroom on Aug. 24, a two-week delay from the original start date. 

Parents had three learning options for their children to choose from. In addition to on-campus learning where the temperature checks will be conducted, parents could also have selected between two online learning programs.

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