Safety Is Our Top Priority: Back-to-School COVID-19 Policy Set By School Board

The managing board for the Horizon Institute announced its back-to-school COVID-19 policy for all students, employees and school visitors for the 2021-22 school year. School begins Tuesday, August 10.

Face coverings (masks) are required by all students in and around all Horizon Institute buildings. Parents may opt out of face coverings for their children by completing an electronic form that is available at the top corner of the page at Students who are 18 years of age or older may fill out the form for themselves. We strongly encourage all students to wear face coverings at all times on campus. The CDC has provided data that mask-wearing by every member of a school community protects most strongly the unvaccinated and the immuno-compromised – including those who are vaccinated but also have respiratory or immune health concerns. All people ages 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated.

Face coverings are required by all employees on our campuses and off campus for school-related events. Vendors, too, who are scheduled to be on campus are required to wear masks.

Parents and other visitors will not yet be allowed in our buildings at this time. While we’d love to have you visit our school in person, we must put the community’s safety first. Social distancing, hand sanitizing stations throughout the buildings and enhanced disinfecting practices will be an important part of our daily routines.

We will NOT be taking students’ temperatures upon arrival; however, if you know that your child has a temperature or shows cold-like symptoms, please keep them home. If you or your child has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please email or call the school. Our on-staff, certified COVID-19 manager will let you know, based on CDC’s most up-to-date guidelines, if your child will need to quarantine at home for a period of time.

Duval County data that is relevant to you: Recent data points show a surge in COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations in Duval County, with 95 percent or more of those being hospitalized also being unvaccinated. Duval County has recorded a positivity rate above 25 percent for several weeks in a row, according the Florida Department of Health. The National Institute of Health reports that vaccines work: Vaccinated individuals are 3.5 times less likely to be infected with COVID-19 (even the new Delta variant), 8 times less likely to show symptoms, and 25 times less likely to be hospitalized than those who are unvaccinated. Reputable sources for information on vaccines and COVID-19 testing include your family doctor, Duval County health centers and the Florida Department of Health.

COVID-19 vaccines available for people ages 12 and older: Our management team is establishing a partnership with a mobile vaccine clinic to set up vaccination events nearby or at our Horizon Institute campuses. Stay tuned for more details. Vaccines are currently available at local pharmacies, grocery stores and many health centers in Jacksonville free of charge. Find your best site today in Duval County.

The back-to-school COVID-19 policy for the Horizon Institute was set by the managing school board, River City Education Organization, on August 5. The board will review the policy every 30 days. It is our intention to return to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible. Safety measures taken at the Horizon Institute are subject to change based on new guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control, Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Education and Duval County School District.

Let’s work together to keep our Horizon Family safe and healthy. That’s how we keep our young people learning, and our community prospering.