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Coronavirus in Tampa Bay schools: a weekly update

Cases top 400 the week after Thanksgiving break. Quarantines have sent thousands home since the school year started.
John Laughman, far left, stops traffic while Raymond Sanchez, center, uses an electronic whistle while helping students cross the street outside Barrington Middle School in Lithia in early September. The school reported two cases of coronavirus this week. Since classes resumed on Aug. 31, there have been 13 cases at Barrington and 1,692 in the Hillsborough district.
John Laughman, far left, stops traffic while Raymond Sanchez, center, uses an electronic whistle while helping students cross the street outside Barrington Middle School in Lithia in early September. The school reported two cases of coronavirus this week. Since classes resumed on Aug. 31, there have been 13 cases at Barrington and 1,692 in the Hillsborough district. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Dec. 5, 2020

With the rapid growth in coronavirus statistics, these reports will highlight those schools with multiple cases in a single week. Full accounting is contained in this map and chart, with school-by-school information available on the district websites.

Hernando County: The district, which until now has reported only a handful of cases, is feeling the full effect of the pandemic with 34 this past week. Six were at Weeki Wachee High in Brooksville, all reported on Monday.

There were four cases at Nature Coast Technical High and three each at Chocachatti Elementary, Explorer K-8, Fox Chapel Middle and Westside Elementary. There were two cases each at Central High, Powell Middle and Springstead High.

Hillsborough County: The district reported 15 cases at Steinbrenner High and 12 at Plant High this week. Plant, in south Tampa, has overtaken east Hillsborough’s Newsome High as the leading Tampa Bay area school for COVID-19 cases. At last count, 73 had been reported at Plant.

South Tampa's Plant High leads the Tampa Bay area in school-based coronavirus cases, with 73 diagnosed so far this school year.
South Tampa's Plant High leads the Tampa Bay area in school-based coronavirus cases, with 73 diagnosed so far this school year. [ Times (2004) ]

Other Hillsborough hot spots: Leto High, which had been relatively quiet in the early months of the school year, had eight cases. There were five at Brooker Elementary and six in the district offices. There were three each at Alonso High, Claywell Elementary, Davidsen Middle, Hillsborough Academy of Math and Science, Hillsborough High, Lavoy Exceptional Center, Maniscalco K-8, Monroe Middle, Pinecrest Elementary, Pizzo K-8, Progress Village Middle, Sickles High and Sunlake Academy of Math and Sciences.

With so many schools reporting cases (101 schools this week in Hillsborough alone), this list does not include those with one or two cases each.

Pasco County: Proving that children cannot avoid COVID-19 by staying out of school buildings, Pasco reported 25 cases of the virus at students in the virtual Myschool Online and Pasco 3-school programs.

In the traditional schools, high schools continued to struggle.

There were 11 cases this week at Sunlake High, and six each at Cypress Creek and Pasco high schools.

Five cases each were reported at Seven Springs Middle and Trinity Elementary. There were four cases each at Cotee River Elementary, Land O’Lakes and Wesley Chapel High. There were three cases each at Charles S. Rushe Middle, Fox Hollow Elementary, Gulf Highlands Elementary, Northwest Elementary, Pasco Elementary, Pasco Middle, Pine View Middle, River Ridge High, Sanders Memorial Elementary, Thomas E. Weightman Middle, Wendell Krinn Technical High and at Wiregrass Elementary.

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Pinellas County: The district had multiple cases at Madeira Beach Fundamental (five) and East Lake High and Meadowlawn Middle (three). It reported two cases each at Curlew Creek Elementary, Eisenhower Elementary, Largo High, Northeast High, Pasadena Fundamental Elementary, Plato Academy Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor Elementary, Seventy-Fourth Street Elementary, Skyview Elementary and Westgate Elementary.

The total this week in the four counties was 471. To date, the Times is aware of 3,442 cases in local K-12 schools.

Quarantine information is not widely available. But, based on the detailed statistics provided by the Pasco County school system, it is likely that about 50,000 students and staff have been subject to quarantine since schools reopened in late August.

Colleges and universities:

Since Nov. 20, the University of South Florida reported that 50 students and 18 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. 20, the University of Tampa reported eight students and seven employees who tested positive. The school also reported 740 of its 820 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 17 cases across its 13 campuses and Hillsborough Community College reported 25 cases across its four campuses. Eckerd College reported three 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

Week ending Nov. 13

Week ending Nov. 20