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Pasco charter school closes temporarily due to coronavirus case

The school is undergoing a full environmental cleaning, the principal said.

WESLEY CHAPEL — A charter school in Pasco County has closed briefly in what appears to be the first instance in Tampa Bay of a coronavirus-related school shut down since the 2020-21 academic year started.

The principal of Pinecrest Academy in Wesley Chapel confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times that all of the school’s students are learning remotely.

“One individual reported a positive case” of COVID-19, principal Aimee Mielke said in an email Friday. “That individual and anyone else who was in close contact with them are quarantined.”

The school closed Thursday and will reopen on Tuesday, Mielke said.

After the case was reported, “a full environmental cleaning took place,” she said. “This cleaning was thorough and complied with health authorities and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recommendations.”

Computers were provided for families who needed them, she said.

Pinecrest is a new school. It is managed by the Miami-based Academica Corp. The school opened this year with 627 students, Mielke said.

Despite the disruption, parent Sara Sevener applauded Pinecrest for its response.

“I support our principal and our school 100 percent,” Sevener said. “I stand behind their decision. I fully believe I made the correct decision sending my child to Pinecrest and could not feel safer sending him anywhere else.”

Staff writer Jeffrey Solochek contributed to this report.