ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) is investigating one new individual with non-travel related Zika in Palm Beach County. The individual has recently traveled to Miami-Dade County and the department’s investigation is underway to determine the source of infection. DOH has begun door-to-door outreach and sampling in the area and mosquito abatement and reduction activities are also taking place. DOH still believes active transmissions are only taking place within the identified area that is less than one-square mile in Miami-Dade County. More details will be announced when the investigation concludes. Governor Scott will be holding a roundtable on Zika preparedness in St. Johns County today and will be available to address this following the event.

Following today’s announcement, and with the 2016-17 school year approaching, Governor Scott has directed the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Board of Governors to partner together to provide critical Zika prevention guidance and resources to students, parents, educators and district leaders across the state.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Today, DOH has announced that they are investigating one new individual with non-travel related Zika in Palm Beach County. While this investigation is ongoing, DOH still believes active transmissions are only taking place within the identified area that is less than one-square mile in Miami-Dade County. With the announcement of this new case, and the upcoming new school year, I have directed DOH and DOE to closely work together to ensure students, parents, educators and district leaders have all the resources and guidance they need to combat the Zika virus.

“DOH, DOE and the Florida Board of Governors will begin distributing Zika teacher toolkits and materials for school districts, public state colleges and public universities to help educate students and their families. All districts and public education facilities will also be connected with their local health departments for the opportunity to train school clinic nurses and staff on Zika prevention.

“Today, I will also be meeting with members of Florida’s K-12 public school system, the Florida College System and the State University System of Florida to discuss what actions they are taking at their schools and campuses, and we will continue to keep an open line of communication with education leaders across the state.”

Governor Scott is directing DOH, DOE and BOG to take the following actions:

  • Distribute to each school district office, public college and public university posters, palm cards, door hangers and other education materials that can be displayed throughout campuses and sent home with students;
  • Send mosquito repellent to school districts, public state colleges and public universities in Miami-Dade, Broward, Martin, Monroe and Palm Beach counties;
  • Share with K-12 educators, principals, parents and other education stakeholders the Florida Department of Health’s Zika teacher toolkit, which includes messages and activities that can be incorporated into teachers’ lesson plans and used at home;
  • Issue informational Zika awareness and prevention materials to VPK and other school readiness programs throughout the state;
  • Provide each school district, public college and public university with contact information for the local health department, which can train school clinic nurses and staff on prevention and symptom identification; and
  • Encourage all education leaders to have protocols in place to promptly address suspected Zika cases.

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