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Class goes on at Sarasota Military Academy after coronavirus contact

Sarasota Military Academy workers sanitized all the classrooms and common areas Monday.
An exterior view of the Sarasota Military Academy 801 N. Orange Ave, on Monday, March 2, 2020 in Sarasota. A parent and student from the school are under quarantine at home as a precaution due to the coronavirus.
An exterior view of the Sarasota Military Academy 801 N. Orange Ave, on Monday, March 2, 2020 in Sarasota. A parent and student from the school are under quarantine at home as a precaution due to the coronavirus. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Mar. 2, 2020
Updated Mar. 2, 2020

SARASOTA — Everything was mostly business as usual at Sarasota Military Academy’s high school campus Monday. Cadets could be heard practicing drills from behind a fence. Students and teachers were laughing and talking normally.

The school is in the spotlight after a student and his mother were quarantined at home after an encounter with a coronavirus patient. The mother of the student works at a local hospital, according to the school, where she came in contact with COVID-19.

Related: Coronavirus in Florida: Live updates

“One of our students and his mother are currently quarantined as a precautionary measure due to the mother’s contact with a patient at Sarasota Doctors Hospital in her professional role,” read a Facebook post from the school Monday. “Our student and his mother currently are not showing any symptoms and are in good health and spirits.”

Florida declared a public health emergency on Sunday after two patients tested positive for coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

Related: Florida’s first positive coronavirus cases: Here’s what you need to know

At Doctors Hospital Sarasota, where the Manatee coronavirus patient is being treated, volunteers in the main lobby said things were slower than usual. At 3 p.m. there were no patients in the lobby or the emergency room waiting area. One volunteer said there were lots of rumors floating around, but little news about what was going on.

Christina Bowman, the executive director of Sarasota Military Academy schools, told the Tampa Bay Times that that she did not know of any parents who had pulled their children out of class. School officials are not recommending excluding any cadets from class at this time, nor are they telling anyone to stay home yet.

School workers sanitized all the classrooms and common areas Monday, as well as the school buses. They also sanitized the whole school about 10 days ago to be proactive for flu season, Bowman said.

The message at the school right now is for teachers and students to wash hands and follow best practices for hygiene.

A third party who knew the mother and son alerted the school to the potential contact via a Facebook post, Bowman said. The school found out about the issue Sunday night and the cadet had not been at the campus since last week.

Around town, cashiers at stores were discussing the virus. At a nearby Sarasota Chick-fil-A, one man was wearing surgical gloves and a full mask.