Florida's COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 14,000
Public Health experts have warned that coronavirus cases are likely to show up in schools as they reopen. And while some Florida school districts are reporting COVID-19 cases, others are not.
WUSF is compiling reports that come in from official sources, and what they are sharing with student families and school staff when available.
Some school districts, universities, and colleges are making information about cases on their campuses available on their websites. You can find them here:
Here’s the latest information:
Sept. 25 – Tampa Bay area
Friday night’s football game between Tarpon Springs High School and East Lake High School has been cancelled — but will likely be rescheduled — after a student at Tarpon Springs tested positive for coronavirus, forcing an undisclosed number of members of the team into quarantine. Seven partial classrooms at the high school were also affected.
However, East Lake will still play Friday night, as they’ll travel to Gainesville to take on Palatka High School, which was left looking for an opponent for its homecoming game after their original opponent, Clay High School, had to cancel after putting their entire varsity and junior varsity football teams, as well as its varsity and JV volleyball teams, under quarantine due to potential exposure to positive COVID-19 cases.
Other local football games cancelled this week include Steinbrenner vs. Newsome, Lake Region vs. Frostproof, Kathleen vs. Manatee, and Dunedin vs. Gulf. A number of those schools cancelled games scheduled for next week as well.
Sept. 25 – Florida State University System
After scrubbing traditional graduation ceremonies in the spring and summer because of COVID-19, Florida’s 12 state universities also appear unlikely to have regular fall commencement events. The state university system directed schools this week to come up with “alternate” fall commencement plans, which could include such things as online ceremonies.
“Recognizing that health guidelines still limit gatherings at this time, it is prudent for universities to develop alternate plans for fall commencement ceremonies, which include any rescheduled spring or summer commencement plans that may have been changed to the fall,” the university system said in a news release.
“While we understand the disappointment this may cause, universities were creative in their spring and summer commencement festivities, and each of them found ways to celebrate their graduates and their achievements. We are confident that the fall graduates will be equally celebrated.”
– News Service of Florida
Sept. 15 – Pasco County
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Pasco County Schools will begin offering COVID-19 testing to district students and staff at three locations: Land O’ Lakes High School, Gulf Middle School, and Pasco Elementary School. The testing will be done by appointment and will not be open to the general public. District officials say results of the tests should be back within 48 hours.
Sept. 15 – Pinellas County
Pinellas County Schools on Tuesday released a list of positive tests reported Sept. 14:
Sept. 15 – University of South Florida
University of South Florida continues regularly reporting positive COVID-19 tests on a website. The student newspaper on the USF St. Petersburg campus, The Crow’s Nest, reports that USF’s Tampa campus has reported 270 cases, compared to 13 at USFSP and six at USF Sarasota-Manatee.
However, USF’s case total remains below that of other Florida universities, with Florida State University leading the way with 839 students and 14 faculty and staff members, as of Sept. 8. FSU was scheduled to begin random surveillance testing of the campus population Sept. 14.
The student newspaper on the USF Tampa campus, The Oracle, reports that Recreation & Wellness shut down all of its indoor facilities over the weekend after six of its 300 student employees tested positive between Sept. 11 and 13. All six of the employees were located in different facilities, including the Rec Center, the FIT, and pools. The Florida Department of Health is conducting contact tracing to identify and contact people who might have been in contact with the employees.
Sept. 14 – Pinellas County
Pinellas County Schools on Monday released a list of positive tests reported Sept. 11:
Sept. 11 – Pinellas County
Pinellas County Schools on Friday released a list of positive tests reported Sept. 10:
Sept. 10 – Pinellas County
Pinellas County Schools on Thursday released a list of positive tests reported Sept. 9:
Sept. 9 – Pinellas County
Pinellas County Schools on Wednesday released a list of positive tests reported between Sept. 5 and Sept. 8:
Sept. 8 – Sarasota County
Sarasota County has launched its own dashboard, detailing six cases among students in schools as of Sept. 7, including one each at Brentwood, Phillippi Shores, Tuttle and Laurel Nokomis Elementary Schools, and two at Riverview High School. An email to parents in the district said the dashboard would be updated once a day at 2 p.m.
Sept. 8 – Pinellas County
Pinellas County Schools announced Tuesday that the Department of Health is using what it calls “a more surgical selection process” to determine which students need to quarantine, as well as what classrooms or buses may need to be closed off for deep cleaning. According to a release from the district, the new process – which uses information like seating charts and mitigating measures – was used for a case at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg.
Pinellas County Schools also released a list of positive tests reported Sept. 4:
Sept. 1 – Manatee County
Palmetto High School in Manatee County has asked a number of students to go into isolation for 14 days as school officials work to identify those who may have been exposed to someone at the school who had tested positive for COVID-19. While the school district is not releasing a precise number of students affected, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports it’s more than 100.
According to an email from Manatee County Schools Communications Director Michael Barber to WUSF, a phone message from Principal Carl Auckerman to the community said an “abnormal number of students being quarantined from campus” Tuesday evening was because the school didn’t have up-to-date seating charts of each class.
As a result, health officials could not identify students who had direct exposure to the confirmed case. Most of the students who were sent home were done so out of what Auckerman called “an extreme abundance of caution.”
Those students should be allowed to return to school as early as Sept. 14 if they are not showing any COVID-19 related symptoms or awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. They are also allowed to continue taking classes through eLearning.
Sept. 1 – Polk County
According to the Polk County Public Schools dashboard, the county has sent messages to families regarding more than 30 confirmed positive cases at over 20 schools between the start of classes Aug. 24 and Aug. 31.
Charter and private schools are not included in the county reports as those schools are responsible for their own communication procedures.
The Lakeland Ledger reports that the district is working with the Polk County Health Department to figure out who was potentially exposed to a positive case in a school and then determine who needs to be quarantined.
“Potentially exposed students and faculty who are instructed to quarantine are determined on a case-by-case basis after the health department begins its contact tracing process,” Polk County Polk County Health Department spokeswoman Nicole Riley said.
Sept. 1 – Pinellas County
Pinellas County Schools released a report Sept. 1 updating cases around the county that includes data from Aug. 29 – 31.
August 31 – Hillsborough County
A football player at Hillsborough High tested positive for COVID-19 and several teammates and coaches have gone into quarantine, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The Hillsborough County School District also began publishing a dashboard tracking the number of positive tests, breaking them down both by school and by students and teachers.
August 30 – Polk County
Lake Wales High School, a charter school in Polk County that operates independently of the public school system, decided to stay online only after two COVID-19 cases were reported Saturday, leading an unspecified number of staff to go into quarantine.
August 25 – Pinellas County
Pinellas County Schools announced Aug. 25 that three more students had tested positive for COVID-19 at three locations around the county.
August 24 – Pinellas County
Pinellas County Schools announced Aug. 24 that three students and three employees had tested positive for COVID-19 at five locations around the county.
August 22 – Manatee High, Bradenton
The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County confirmed “a couple of cases of COVID-19” associated with Manatee High School in Bradenton, according to school district communication with parents and employees Aug. 22. The communication said the people involved “have not been on our campus since the beginning of the week.”
The statement did not provide specifics about who was infected but said a contact tracing investigation was conducted by an epidemiologist determined there were direct exposures identified. The district said the confirmed cases and all students exposed to them confirmed cases have been contacted and will be sent home to isolate for 14 days from the known exposure.
August 21 – Lincoln Memorial Academy, Palmetto
A case of COVID-19 associated with Lincoln Memorial Academy in Palmetto was confirmed by the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County. Direct exposures were identified and “are being contacted and sent home to isolate for 14 days from the date of known exposure, in accordance with CDC and Florida Department of Health protocols,” according to school district communication with parents and employees on Aug. 21.
The confirmed case is also isolated away from school in accordance with those same protocols.
August 19 – Tara Elementary, Bradenton
A couple of cases associated with Tara Elementary in Bradenton were confirmed by the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County. Direct exposures were identified, contacted, and sent home to isolate for 14 days from the date of known exposure, in accordance with CDC and Florida Department of Health protocols, according to school district communication with parents and employees on Aug. 19.
August 19 – Manatee Technical College Main Campus, Bradenton
A case associated with Manatee Technical College Main Campus in Bradenton was confirmed by the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County. Direct exposures were identified, contacted, and sent home to isolate for 14 days from the date of known exposure, in accordance with CDC and Florida Department of Health protocols, according to school district communication with parents and employees on Aug. 19.
The confirmed case was also sent home to isolate in accordance with those same protocols.
August 18 – Manatee County
COVID-19 cases were reported at three Manatee County schools on Aug. 18. Officials from Ballard Elementary in Bradenton and Parrish Community High School notified families and school staff, but did not say how many people were affected at each school – or if the infected persons were students or school employees.
The people who tested positive, and those the Florida Department of Health identified as having direct exposure to them, were asked to isolate at home for 14 days. Portions of both campuses were cleaned with a special disinfectant overnight, and classes resumed Aug. 19.
The Bradenton Herald reported another case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Rowlett Academy for Arts and Communication, a charter school in Bradenton, on Aug. 18. The school notified families and closed portions of its campus for a few days for cleaning.