A new COVID-19 Response Team has been established to assess, improve, and sustain the COVID-19 prevention efforts in Alachua County Public Schools.
Superintendent Carlee Simon officially introduced the team at the January 19th School Board meeting, where they shared a report on their completed and ongoing projects, and an outline of their upcoming actions to address the unmet needs of students, staff, and families during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jason Stanford, a teacher from Hawthorne Middle/High School and former CDC Public Health Analyst, will lead the team’s Program Evaluation and Accountability initiatives. Prescott Cowles, a science teacher from Hillsborough County and former Program Director at Camp Crystal Lake, will lead the district’s Communication and Community Engagement strategy for COVID-19.
Explore the COVID Response Team page to catch up on the team’s first board report, watch the full video of the team’s presentation, and learn more about each member’s experience and ongoing efforts.
Jason Stanford | Program Evaluation and Accountability
Jason Stanford is a native of Alachua County and a Hawthorne High School graduate. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the University of Florida, and his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.
He began his career in public health with the State of Georgia Division of Public Health, managing public health grants at the county level. After several years at the state level, Mr. Stanford moved to the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. where he served as a Grants Management Specialist and Public Health Analyst managing grant-funded programs for states and universities around the country. In 2012, Mr. Stanford returned to Georgia to work at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where he served as a Public Health Analyst, providing guidance for emergency preparedness and response programs at the state level. During his time at the CDC, Mr. Stanford also served on an Ebola response team assisting state and local governments prevent the spread of Ebola in the United States.
In 2016, Mr. Stanford returned home to Alachua County. He served as a Long-term Substitute in the district for one year, and then became a Social Studies teacher at Hawthorne Middle/High School. He is a Guardian ad Litem in our region, and serves on boards of local non-profit organizations.
Prescott Cowles | Communication and Community Engagement
Phone: (352) 955-6954
Prescott Cowles is a native of Alachua County and a graduate of the IB program at Eastside High School. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Science Education through the STEM Education Residency Program at the University of South Florida.
He began his teaching career in Hillsborough County at Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy, a public Title I middle school with a single-gender magnet program. While teaching 7th and 8th-grade science, he also served as Head Coach for the school's track and field team, and an instructor in an after school course recovery program.
He first joined Alachua County Public Schools as a camp counselor at Camp Crystal Lake Outdoor Education Center in 2014, where he has continued to work for the past 7 summers. Most recently he served as Program Director, responsible for overseeing daily camp program operations and coordinating the camp's staff Leadership Council. In 2019, he transitioned to a year-round position as Camper Specialist and Registrar. In this role, he organized staff development programs for new hires, returning staff, and camp leadership, rebuilt and streamlined the camp's payment and reporting system, and served as the primary contact for all schools, parents, summer staff, vendors, and community organizations.
Following the closure of Camp Crystal in Summer 2020, he provided support for the district at the Office of Student Assignment, Lake Forest Elementary, Alachua eSchool, and in the Volunteer/Partners in Education Office, earning a unique perspective of the pandemic's many impacts on schools and families in Alachua County this year.
40,000 KN95 Masks distributed to ACPS Staff
Last week, over 40,000 KN95 masks were distributed to Alachua County Public Schools and sites, and additional orders were placed to sustain the supply for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year. All teachers and support staff have been guaranteed KN95 masks in the district's latest agreement with Alachua County Education Association.
The COVID Response Team has also developed a streamlined process for school administrators to request and distribute process PPE and COVID prevention supplies for staff and students.
600+ Vaccinated at ACPS Vaccine Clinics
Alachua County Public Schools is planning and preparing to scale up our COVID-19 vaccination efforts, in collaboration with the Department of Health and UF Health. To date, more than 600 employees and retirees ages 65 and over have been vaccinated at our vaccine clinics, including 200 who have received both their first and second dose of the vaccine.
This page will be updated with information about more vaccine opportunities as they become available. Those who are 65 and over can register or update their information on the Department of Health's new vaccine registration platform.
Revised COVID Response & Monitoring Plans for Spring 2021
The COVID Response Team has developed a revised COVID Response plan, a guiding document for schools that has been updated for clarity, to align with CDC guidance, and to include recent recommendations from SMAC. The team has also shared the COVID Response Monitoring Plan, which will be used during site visits to schools starting this week. The Monitoring Plan can be used as a resource and checklist for schools to prepare for the visit.School visits will last about two hours, and will include a tour of the campus, interviews with principals and assistant principals, and conversations with teacher and custodian representatives. The goal will be to offer feedback and support for district-wide COVID prevention procedures, as well as highlighting best practices to share with the community. The COVID Response Team will be reaching out to principals via email to schedule visits with at least 24 hours notice, and will provide an agenda to schools in advance of the visit.