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Coronavirus in Tampa Bay schools: a weekly update

Tropical Storm Eta interrupted testing. But the virus did not take a break.

(Note to readers: This will be the last detailed school coronavirus report until after the Thanksgiving holiday. In the meantime, the map and growth chart will be updated with a short post on Nov. 21.)

This past week’s COVID-19 statistics reflect two days of little to no test results, as the area hunkered down for Tropical Storm Eta.

But the early part of the week was typically busy, with more than 100 cases coming in on Monday. That’s about what a full week used to add up to at the beginning of the school year.

Hernando County: There were two cases each at Winding Waters K-8 and Nature Coast Technical High. There was one case each at Chocachatti, Deltona, Pine Grove and Spring Hill elementary schools; Powell Middle, Challenger K-8, and Weeki Wachee High.

Hillsborough County: With trouble continuing in the district’s largest high schools, administrators are sounding alarms and trying to encourage responsible behavior outside of school. The recent messages included this video from the principal and PTSA president of Newsome High School, which to date has reported 46 cases.

This week saw eight cases at Steinbrenner High and seven each at Riverview High, Coleman Middle and the school district offices.

There were six cases at Lake Magdalene Elementary. There were five each at Armwood and Robinson high schools.

There were four each at Bevis Elementary; Mulrennan Middle; and Alonso, Durant, Plant City and Sickles high schools.

These schools had three cases each: Bellamy and Dickenson elementary schools; Burnett Middle; Maniscalco, Sulphur Springs, Turner-Bartels and Maniscalco K-8; and Sumner High.

These schools had two cases each: Brooker, Bryant, Clair-Mel, Heritage, Miles, Riverhills and Stowers elementary schools; Barrington, Davidsen, Marshall, Martinez and Webb middle schools; Freedom, Gaither, Newsome, Plant, Spoto and Wharton high schools; Hillsborough Academy of Math and Science; and Trinity Charter School.

These schools had one case each: Alafia, Ballast Point, Carrollwood, Cleveland, Edison, Gibsonton, Knights, Lamb, Lithia Springs, Mango, Mintz, Muller, Oak Grove, Pride, Reddick, Roosevelt, Ruskin, Schwarzkopf, Sessums, Summerfield Crossings, Trapnell, Walden Lake, Warren Hope Dawson, Walden Lake, Wilson and Yates elementary schools.

These schools also had one case each: Burns, Giunta, Greco, Hill, Liberty, Memorial, Progress Village, Randall and Shields middle schools; Bloomingdale, Chamberlain, East Bay, Leto and Strawberry Crest high schools, the Hospital Homebound program, Rampello K-8, and these charter schools: Bridgeprep Academy of Riverview, Learning Gate, and Sunlake Academy of Math and Science.

Pasco County: Outbreaks in the district, including 19 cases over eight days at Wiregrass Ranch High, have inspired public service announcements in that county as well. Superintendent Kurt Browning put his students-please-be-careful message on YouTube:

As is the case everywhere, high schools were the most problematic settings, with double-digit numbers at Wiregrass Ranch (15 since Saturday) and Sunlake (10). To give an idea of the impact these cases have, the six illnesses reported Friday at Sunlake meant 128 students had to go into quarantine. There were eight cases at Cypress Creek High and four each at J.W. Mitchell, Pasco, River Ridge and Zephyrhills high schools. Land O’Lakes High and Calusa Elementary each had three cases.

These schools had two cases each: Achieve Center at Richey; Cotee River and Wesley Chapel elementary schools; John Long and Pine View middle schools; Fivay High; and Marchman Technical College.

These schools had one case each: Achieve Center of Pasco; Connerton, Double Branch, Gulf Trace, Oakstead, Odessa, Pasco, Shady Hills and Trinity Oaks elementary schools; Bayonet Point, Charles S. Rushe, R.B. Stewart, River Ridge and Seven Springs middle schools; and Hudson and Wendell Krinn Technical high schools.

At Pasco County's Sunlake High School, shown here in May, there were six coronavirus cases reported on Friday, and 128 student quarantined.
At Pasco County's Sunlake High School, shown here in May, there were six coronavirus cases reported on Friday, and 128 student quarantined. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]

Pinellas County: Parents and police literally came to blows over a masking policy as the virus continued to spread in that county’s schools.

In this still image from video, parent Kari Turner of Largo is detained by police at the Pinellas County School Board building Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 in Largo. The video was posted on Facebook by Sam Stefano.
In this still image from video, parent Kari Turner of Largo is detained by police at the Pinellas County School Board building Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 in Largo. The video was posted on Facebook by Sam Stefano. [ Times ]

Before and after Tuesday’s fracas, these cases were reported in the schools:

There were five cases at Forest Lakes Elementary and three in the district administrative headquarters. There were three at Palm Harbor Middle School.

These schools had two cases each: Brooker Creek, Shore Acres, Sutherland and Woodlawn elementary schools; Safety Harbor Middle; and East Lake, Osceola Fundamental, Palm Harbor University, Seminole and Tarpon Springs high schools.

These schools had one case each: Belcher, Cross Bayou, Curlew Creek, Frontier, Gulf Beaches, Oakhurst, Pasadena Fundamental, Sawgrass Lake, Seventy-Fourth Street and Starkey elementary schools; Carwise, Oak Grove, Osceola, Pinellas Park, Seminole, Tarpon Springs and Thurgood Marshall Fundamental middle schools; Bayside, Clearwater, Countryside, Dunedin, Hollins and St. Petersburg high schools; Madeira Beach Fundamental and Pinellas Technical College - Clearwater.

The total for the week was 347, not including Friday’s Pinellas cases. The total to date is 2,297 cases since the school year started.

Colleges and Universities:

Since Nov. 6, the University of South Florida reported that 50 students and five employees across the school’s campuses have tested positive. Cases listed are those that students, faculty or the health department report to the university and those who test positive at the Student Health Center.

Since Nov. 6, the University of Tampa reported 31 students and three employees members who tested positive. The school also reported 688 of its 789 reported cases from the beginning of the semester have recovered as “symptom free and not contagious.” Cases reported are those who self-report or are diagnosed at the student health center.

Over the same time period, St. Petersburg College reported seven cases across its 13 campuses and Hillsborough Community College reported six cases across its four campuses. Eckerd College reported two active cases of residential students this week.

Previous reports:

Week ending Aug. 28

Week ending Sept. 4

Week ending Sept. 11

Week ending Sept. 18

Week ending Sept. 25

Week ending Oct. 4

Week ending Oct. 11

Week ending Oct. 18

Week ending Oct. 23

Week ending Oct. 30

Week ending Nov. 6

Staff writer Divya Kumar contributed to this report.

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