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Heard On Sundial: PBC Schools Stay Remote, COVID-19’s Effects on Kids, And COVID-19 In Latin America

Getty Images via the Miami Herald
Two children have died from COVID-19-related complications in Florida last month and more than 7,000 other children under 18 have tested positive for the disease since the pandemic began in March, according to the state Department of Health.

On this Thursday, July 9, episode of Sundial:


Palm Beach County Schools Fully Remote Learning


After a six hour meeting on Wednesday, the Palm Beach County School Board unanimously agreed that classes would resume fully online in August. 

The number of South Florida’s COVID-19 cases has soared in recent weeks, leading to pressure on schools to reopen virtually from concerned teachers and parents.

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“Parents seemed really split. There’s a real divide. There are parents who really want their children back in school and there are others, of course, who are really concerned about the risk and would prefer that they not go back,” said Andrew Marra, education reporter with the Palm Beach Post. 

We spoke with Marra about the announcement and what the reopening process will look like in Palm Beach County schools.

COVID-19’s Effects On Children


In Florida, more than 11,000 children have tested positive for the virus since March. The majority of COVID-19 cases statewide are concentrated in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The effects of isolation and COVID-19 impact children differently than adults. Dr. Brandon Chatani, an infectious disease specialist at Holtz Children's Hospital, discussed the differences in symptoms and how the virus can manifest itself.


“Similar to the previous peak that we had in Florida, the cases in children aren’t peaking at the same time as adults,” he said. “For children, we usually see a lag based on the exposure that they’ve had.”


We spoke with Dr. Chatani about coronavirus-related tips for parents, as well as both the medical and social ways COVID-19 can influence children.


Latin America And COVID-19


Brazil has the second most COVID-19 cases in the world next to the United States. Their president, Jair Bolsonaro — who claimed the virus was a hoax — has now been infected.


Uruguay, on the other hand, has the smallest number of COVID-19 cases in all of Latin America. Uruguay borders Brazil, but has taken stringent measures to protect its residents, and has engaged in an extensive contact tracing and public information campaign.  

“Even before [Bolsonaro] confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19, his behavior towards this pandemic had really been eroding his support among even his most hardcore supporters here,” said Tim Padgett, WLRN’s Americas editor.


“Remember that back in 2018 when he was first elected, South Florida Brazilians voted for him at about 80 percent. That’s how popular he was here. But as his presidency has unfolded, his very controversial policies toward things like the Amazon rainforest and then toward the pandemic, it’s really began to cause Brazilians, even in a loyal stronghold like this here in South Florida, to question him.”


We spoke with Padgett about Brazil and Uruguay’s contrasting approaches to COVID-19 in their respective countries.

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Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.