The Lee County School District announced Friday that it will not be checking students’ temperatures when they arrive at school.
In a letter to parents, the district cited guidance from the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) which does not recommend temperature checks because they are “expensive, time-consuming and not sensitive for early infection.”
The guidance was part of a white paper the FCAAP released on July 29 to help inform the state’s superintendents as they reopen schools this fall.
The district’s policy change comes just hours after Thursday night’s 8 p.m. deadline for parents to select how they want to send their kids to school this fall: in-person, Lee Home Connect, Lee Virtual School or parent-led homeschool. As of noon Tuesday, just over half of the school commitment surveys for the district’s 85,000 students had been submitted. Any student without a completed form turned in by the deadline was to be automatically enrolled in face-to-face instruction.
The Lee School District said in its letter Friday that parents should contact their child’s school directly if they want to change their instruction choice based on the temperature check policy change.
While the academy does not recommend temperature checks upon arrival at school, it does state that parents should take their child’s temperature each morning. The FCAAP says children with a fever greater than 100.4 should not be sent to school.
Lee schools did do daily temperature checks of students during its face-to-face summer learning program. The school year is slated to start on Monday, Aug. 31.
Here is the district’s email in full:
The School District of Lee County continues to gather and receive information from our Health Partners regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic. The latest guidance relates to taking student temperatures as they arrive at school.
The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) released a white paper for Superintendents stating: “… the FCAAP does NOT recommend temperature checks at school. It is expensive, time-consuming and not sensitive for early infection.”
In addition, local pediatricians and experts from the Florida Department of Health – Lee County have also recommended removing temperature checks because:
- Fever is only one of many symptoms that children may present with (45% up to age 9, and 35% age 10-18);
- Infected children are just as likely to be asymptomatic as they are to have fever;
- Infected patients are most likely to transmit the virus in the few days prior to developing symptoms; and
- A normal temperature may create a false sense of security
Due to this new guidance, the School District of Lee County has made the decision to not check student temperatures as they arrive at school. In accordance with the FCAAP, we are instead asking parents and guardians to check their child’s temperature at home before sending child to school each day. If a child has a temperature, or any symptoms related to COVID-19, s/he should stay home.
If you wish to update your instructional model selection based on this change in procedure, please contact your child’s school.