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Coronavirus in Tampa Bay schools: a weekly update

More than 11,000 cases have been recorded since the start of the school year.
Marissa Hernandez, 11, holds onto her mask while speaking to a reporter outside Burnett Middle School in Seffner last August.
Marissa Hernandez, 11, holds onto her mask while speaking to a reporter outside Burnett Middle School in Seffner last August. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Feb. 27
Updated Feb. 27

Coronavirus case counts in the Tampa Bay area, while down from their peak in January, are still above 500 a week, and at least 10 percent higher this week than last.

Pinellas County school officials now call families only when they are directly affected by a case. To know about other school cases, parents and employees can consult the web-based dashboard that is also linked below.

Schools are continuing to re-introduce normal activities, in consultation with local public health officials. In Hillsborough, an announcement went out this week that indoor musical performances will be resumed.

In the meantime, the Tampa Bay Times is continuing to track the trends on the interactive map that appears in the online story. While all cases are captured there, this article names only those schools with the largest totals.

Hernando: The area’s smallest school district saw 23 cases this week. That’s on par with recent weeks and, typical of area school districts, the biggest numbers were in high schools. Six of the 23 were at Springstead High. Five were at Nature Coast Technical High School. Four were at Winding Waters K-8.

Hillsborough: Durant High School in Plant City and the Trinity charter school in Tampa were by far the busiest schools for COVID-19 this past week. Durant, with 18 cases, is now in the triple digits with 110 since the start of the school year. Trinity, with 17, has had 43 to date.

Durant High School has had a rash of coronavirus cases, and the count now exceeds 100.
Durant High School has had a rash of coronavirus cases, and the count now exceeds 100. [ Facebook ]

Leto High School had 10 cases; Dowdell Middle Magnet School had eight and there were seven in the district offices.

Barrington Middle, Cimino Elementary, Hillsborough High and Sickles High each had six. Burnett Middle, Strawberry Crest High and Walden Lake Elementary had five each.

Pasco: The county had 110 cases, a small increase from the previous week but far better than in the weeks following the winter holidays.

Among the busiest Pasco schools: J.W. Mitchell High School had seven cases and is closing in on 100, with 96 to date.

There were seven COVID-19 patients in mySchoolOnline.

Four cases each were reported at Cypress Creek High School and New River Elementary School. Other schools had three cases or fewer, and the monthly totals can be found on the map.

Pinellas: For the first four days of the week (Pinellas reports its Friday cases the following Monday) Pinellas’s numbers rose, to 198.

East Lake High had by far the greatest number, with 19 cases.

Largo High, Pinellas Technical College in Clearwater, Skycrest Elementary, Starkey Elementary and at the Walter Pownall Service Center each had six cases.

Boca Ciega High, Countryside High, Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School and St. Petersburg High each had five cases.

Students make their way off campus after the final bell rings on the first day of school in August at Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport. Five cases of coronavirus were reported at the school in the week ending Feb. 26.
Students make their way off campus after the final bell rings on the first day of school in August at Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport. Five cases of coronavirus were reported at the school in the week ending Feb. 26. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

In the four Tampa Bay area school districts, the Times is aware of 11,381 cases this school year, and of those, 589 were reported in the week that ended Friday.

Colleges and universities:

Since Feb. 19, the University of South Florida reported 21 students and 11 employees across the school’s campuses have tested positive. That includes those 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 13 student and two employee cases. St. Petersburg College reported seven cases across its 13 campuses and Hillsborough Community College reported 20 cases across its four campuses. Eckerd College reported no active cases among residential students this week.

Recent reports:

Week ending Jan. 15

Week ending Jan. 22

Week ending Jan. 29

Week ending Feb. 5

Week ending Feb. 12

Week ending Feb. 19

Staff writer Divya Kumar contributed to this report.