Coronavirus in Tampa Bay schools: a weekly update | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools


Coronavirus counts in Tampa Bay area schools were complicated this week by spring break, but it’s clear that high schools continue to have the most cases.

The region’s four school districts were not consistent in how they recorded cases from the spring break week of March 15-19. The Pinellas County school district, for example, included all spring break cases in its report for the first Monday back in school.

So it’s impossible to say if activity is up or down.

It is possible, however, to see clusters of cases at individual schools: For example, Steinbrenner High in northern Hillsborough reported 21 cases. And, for the first time this year, coronavirus was confirmed at Lake Academy, an alternative school in East Hillsborough that reported 10 cases.

Here is a county by county look at the week, focusing on schools with four or more cases:

Hernando County: The district’s case count was a relatively high 36, although some of those might have been held over from spring break. Hernando High had the most, with nine cases. Moton Elementary and Weeki Wachee High reported five cases each, and Central High four cases.

A kindergarten class at Spring Hill Elementary, shown on the Hernando School District’s Twitter account. Coronavirus case counts are relatively low in Hernando and in elementary schools. The Tampa Bay Times knows of only 17 at Spring Hill Elementary for the school year so far. [ Twitter ]

Hillsborough County: The 316 cases reported this past week included 22 staff illnesses among central district employees. Just behind that number was Steinbrenner High in Lutz, with 21 cases.

There were 12 cases at Alonso High, followed by the 10 cases at Lake Academy.

Newsome High had eight cases. Plant City, Brandon, Lennard and Tampa Bay Technical high schools had seven cases each. Jefferson and Sumner high schools had six each.

Durant and Leto High, Lowry Elementary and Orange Grove Middle each reported five cases.

The district reported four cases each at Bryan Elementary, Freedom High, Lanier Elementary, Liberty Middle, Plant High, Strawberry Crest High, Valrico Elementary, Waterset Charter and Westchase Elementary.

Steinbrenner High in Lutz has seen a surge in coronavirus cases recently. Twenty-one were reported this week for a total of 136 since school began on Aug. 31.
Steinbrenner High in Lutz has seen a surge in coronavirus cases recently. Twenty-one were reported this week for a total of 136 since school began on Aug. 31. [ Times (2009) ]

Pasco County: Of 99 cases over the past week, nine were at Fivay High, while J.W. Mitchell and Wesley Chapel high schools each reported seven cases. Five cases were reported at Land O’Lakes High. And there were four each at Pasco High, Pasco e-School, Raymond B. Stewart Middle, River Ridge High and Seven Springs Middle.

Pinellas County: As in other counties, high schools continued to show the most activity in Pinellas, which mingled the past week’s numbers with those from spring break. Hollins, Largo and Palm Harbor University high schools reported seven cases each. And six cases each were reported at Countryside and Boca Ciega, where the baseball team was placed on quarantine.

Students make their way off campus after the final bell rings on the first day of school at Boca Ciega High in Gulfport. Six coronavirus cases have been reported at the school since the start of spring break.
Students make their way off campus after the final bell rings on the first day of school at Boca Ciega High in Gulfport. Six coronavirus cases have been reported at the school since the start of spring break. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School and Seminole High had five cases each. These schools each had four cases: Belcher Elementary, Clearwater High, Mount Vernon Elementary, Northeast High, Plumb Elementary and Seventy-Fourth Street Elementary.

Since the start of the school year, the Times has tracked 13,165 cases across the four counties.

Colleges and universities:

Since March 12, the University of South Florida reported that 25 students and two employees across the school’s campuses have tested positive. Cases listed are those that have been reported to the university and those who test positive at the Student Health Center.

Over the same time period, the University of Tampa has reported 24 student and two employee cases. St. Petersburg College reported eight cases across its 13 campuses and Hillsborough Community College reported 16 cases across its four campuses.

Eckerd College reported seven active cases among residential students this week.

Recent reports:

Week ending Feb. 12

Week ending Feb. 19

Week ending Feb. 26

Week ending March 5

Week ending March 12

Staff writer Divya Kumar contributed to this report.



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