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Second Duval Public School Goes Virtual Due To COVID Exposures

Cyd Hoskinson

A second Duval County public school is going virtual because of high rates of exposure to COVID-19. 

The Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) district announced Wednesday that Fletcher Middle School in Neptune Beach will be closed to in-person classes, just one day after Baldwin Middle-High made the same announcement. According to the district, schools are closed to in-person instruction if 20% of students test positive for COVID-19, or come into close contact with someone who has tested positive. 

All extracurricular activities, including athletics and arts events, are suspended for both schools until students return to the classroom September 1.  

In a call to Fletcher Middle School families, Principal Joe McKenzie said the school would work with parents to make sure students have the technology they need to connect to online instruction. 

“On behalf of the leadership, teachers and staff at Fletcher Middle, we will continue to work to make the online experience the best it can be and look forward to regathering as a school community on September 2nd,” McKenzie said.

The district has reported 943 COVID cases since school began August 10  — a tally that does not include cases in the district’s charter schools. Baldwin Middle-High reported 44 confirmed cases before its closure; Fletcher reported 33, a number that has likely risen since the district’s last report at 8 p.m. Tuesday. 

The school closures come on the heels of the DCPS School Board’s decision to implement a mandatory mask rule for students that will go into effect September 7. The new rule calls for students to wear a mask unless they have a doctor’s note exempting them on medical, physical or psychological grounds.  

Contact Sydney Boles at, or on Twitter at@sydneyboles.

Sydney manages community engagement programs like WJCT News' Coronavirus Texting Service. Originally from the mountains of upstate New York, she relocated to Jacksonville from Kentucky, where she reported on Appalachia's coal industry.