Centner Academy backs off quarantine for vaccinated students

(Marta Lavandier, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

MIAMI – A Miami private school that introduced a controversial quarantine policy asking students who received COVID-19 vaccines to stay home for 30 days says it will not implement such a rule after all.

It comes after the state threatened to pull funding from Centner Academy last week.

“When we announced the subject policy regarding COVID-19, we believed that we were acting in compliance with the Department of Education’s Emergency Rule ... which allows a student to be considered in attendance at school when under a “stay-home” directive related to COVID-19,” Centner’s Chief Operating Officer Bianca Erickson wrote in a letter responding to the state Friday. “Our plan at the time included a “stay-home” policy that would be supported by remote learning. Please note, however, that the plan as announced was not implemented prior to receipt of your letter and we will not pursue any such measures. We conclude our response by confirming that Centner Academy is not requesting any student to quarantine at home due to vaccination status.”

The state, in a letter to the school on Thursday, indicated that the proposed policy would be outside the law.

“Recently it has come to our attention that your schools may employ attendance policies which require parents of recently vaccinated students to quarantine their children for unreasonable, unnecessary and unduly burdensome amount of time before returning for in-person instruction,” the Florida Department of Education’s letter to Centner Academy said.

“Should our investigation reveal that your schools’ policies fail to comport with these lawful rights and obligations, understand that the action that follows — up to and including revocation of your schools’ scholarship eligibility and funding — will be both swift and decisive.”

The private school with campuses in the Design District and Edgewater had also made headlines this past spring for an email warning staff against getting a COVID-19 vaccine.