As the first day of school approaches, Polk County Public Schools has received numerous inquiries from families curious about temperature checks.
Fever is one of the first and most common symptoms of coronavirus. That’s why, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health, PCPS will check student temperatures daily — but how those checks will be conducted will vary by school site.
“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,” said PCPS Acting Chief Academic Officer Michelle Townley.
At minimum, however, each school is aiming to check the temperatures of 20 percent of its students each day. Temperature checks will be conducted by members of each school’s administration.
The 20-percent-per-day threshold was set to make the temperature check process more manageable, especially at the district’s largest schools.
“We have to balance the safety aspect with what our schools can reasonably achieve. If our schools, at a minimum, check 20 percent of their students per day, our thought is that over the course of the five-day week, the entire student population will be checked,” said Audrey Kelley, PCPS’ senior manager of prevention, health and wellness.
“But again, depending on the student population, schools may be able to check more than 20 percent on any given day.”
To assist with temperature checks, the district has provided all schools with touchless thermometers.
In addition, high schools are receiving infrared wrist scanners that give a temperature reading within seconds. High schools are receiving this equipment first because they have the largest student populations. After high schools, PCPS plans to install wrist scanners at its largest middle and elementary schools.
If a student registers a higher-than-normal temperature, they will be assessed by the school nurse for any needed care.