Drew drives COVID response


Atticus Dickson

Mr. Drew in his office.

Ever since the beginning of last year, our first full school year of COVID, Mr. Drew has met regularly, and this year biweekly with the Bolles COVID taskforce, weekly with the heads of each campus, and multiple times each week with Mr. Hodges to strategize both against COVID, and for the safety of the Bolles community.

Specifically, Mr. Drew focuses on a weekly COVID update sent out on Campus Connect, which is a weekly internal newsletter, primarily to “student facing employees, meaning “employees who primarily work with kids and students who [test] positive, and also [are] quarantined on all four campuses.” The dashboard includes data on quarantined students and student facing employees.

Mr. Drew’s main source of information is the CDC dashboard. However, last year admin mainly followed the Florida state dashboard. “The state of Florida had a dashboard that was updated and managed by the Florida Department of Health [but], they don’t do that anymore.”

The administration also compares internal rates of positivity for COVID with external rates in the rest of Duval county. At its worst, the rate of people testing positive, or positivity rate, for COVID in Duval County was 20%, meaning one in every five people who took a COVID screening tested positive. “[At that time] we were really hoping to get that down lower,” Mr. Drew said.

At the time of the Bugle’s interview with Mr. Drew, the county positivity rate was about 11%. “Fortunately [the Bolles community] never reached a threshold where we’ve felt like, ‘you know, this is so bad, we need to shut the campus down so that we’re not spreading the virus anymore.’”

We need to find a middle ground, [in] that this is a divisive topic, and we work hard to understand everyone’s perspective.

— Mr. Drew

As well as consulting the CDC’s database, Bolles also has an external consultant at Mayo Clinic, whose role is similar to that of a lawyer. “A lawyer can give you legal guidance you can or cannot take that legal guidance,” says Mr. Drew.

Due to the administration’s attentiveness to COVID, both within and outside of Bolles, we as a school have been largely able to avoid disaster. As for when we will finally at long last return to normalcy, “we need to find a middle ground, [in] that this is a divisive topic, and we work hard to understand everyone’s perspective.”