COVID forces temporary shutdown of WOHS

West Orange High School has shifted to OCPS LaunchED@Home for two weeks following an uptick in positive cases of the coronavirus.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • News
  • Share

All students at West Orange High School are learning virtually for two weeks after the discovery of at least 10 positive cases of COVID-19. The shift to LaunchED@Home started Monday, Sept. 21; all face-to-face students and staff members can return to campus Monday, Oct. 5.

Orange County Public Schools and the Florida Department of Health in Orange County made the announcement Friday, Sept. 18, after being notified of the confirmed positive cases. At least two more cases are pending.

According to DOH-Orange, 159 students and staff members have been identified as having direct contact with the people who tested positive and received FDOH quarantine letters.

The announcement came on the heels of OCPS’ decision to allow marching band, cheerleaders, dancers and JROTC to perform at Friday night games after earlier banning their appearances.

Although OCPS originally announced West Orange students would not be able to participate in extracurricular or co-curricular activities, the decision was made to allow the football team to play its Friday night game. Its first game canceled because of COVID-19 cases at Evans High, its first scheduled opponent.

During the two-week closure, the campus will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, OCPS officials said. That process started with the confirmation of the first case on Sept. 14. 

West Orange will not be distributing meals during the closure; breakfast and lunch can be picked up at any other school until WOHS reopens.

The Department of Health is offering free drive-thru COVID-19 testing in the parking lot of West Orange High through a mobile testing unit. Priority will be given to the staff and students in quarantine. The school will provide more details as they become available. This is exclusively for West Orange High School students and staff members who have been on campus and need to be tested.

Concerned families are being encouraged to take advantage of this precautionary screening opportunity.

West Orange is the second West Orange-area school to be temporarily closed because of multiple positive COVID-19 cases. Olympia High was closed, and all students engaged in two weeks of virtual education starting Sept. 8.

“LaunchED@Home is the same educational model that was used by all at the beginning of the school year in order to prepare for a situation such as this, and what the majority of West Orange High students and teachers are already using,” OCPS officials said.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

Latest News