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Coronavirus in Tampa Bay schools: a weekly update

Though vaccines are widely available, schools are still reporting more than 600 cases a week.
Hudson High in Pasco County reported 12 coronavirus cases this week, an unusually high number for a school that has been averaging three or four a month.
Hudson High in Pasco County reported 12 coronavirus cases this week, an unusually high number for a school that has been averaging three or four a month. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Apr. 17
Updated Apr. 17

Coronavirus case counts are holding steady in Tampa Bay area schools and, in some cases, are on the rise again.

With vaccines widely available for adults, there are few cases among school staff. But, as officials begin to make decisions about masks and distance learning for the coming year, students are continuing to report infections, sometimes in large numbers at single schools.

Here is what the data looked like this week. For schools with three or fewer cases, consult the map, which also shows monthly totals.

Hernando County: The 23 cases in Hernando included four at Floyd Elementary and three at Weeki Wachee High. There were two each at Explorer K-8, Central High, Nature Coast Technical High, Spring Hill Elementary and West Hernando Middle School.

Hillsborough County: Two high schools led the district’s list — Gaither and Armwood, each with 13 cases.

Navigator Academy of Leadership, a charter school in Valrico, had nine cases.

Durant and Newsome high schools had eight cases each, as did the district offices.

Brandon and Steinbrenner high schools had seven cases each.

These schools had six cases each: Alonso and Spoto high schools, Bing Elementary and Turner Bartels K-8.

These schools had five cases each: Dover, Mintz and Nelson elementary schools; Hillsborough Academy of Math and Science; and Plant High.

These schools had four cases each: Legacy Preparatory Academy, Lewis Elementary, Lutz Preparatory School, Memorial Middle and Pepin Academies.

Pasco County: The district saw an uptick in cases during a week when superintendent Kurt Browning touched off a debate over whether mask orders can be enforced after April 26. The 168 total, mostly students, was the highest it had been since Jan. 15.

As in Hillsborough, some of the reports came in bunches. There were 12 cases at Hudson High and 12 at Pine View Middle School.

Nine cases were reported at J.W. Mitchell High, which has a total of 147 since the start of the school year.

From left, Mitchell High yearbook editors Cate Miller, Jillian Misemer and Sophia Henges work on page layouts for their 2021 publication. Mitchell High has reported 147 coronavirus cases this school year.
From left, Mitchell High yearbook editors Cate Miller, Jillian Misemer and Sophia Henges work on page layouts for their 2021 publication. Mitchell High has reported 147 coronavirus cases this school year. [ Courtesy of Mitchell High School ]

There were eight cases at Connerton Elementary and eight among virtual students in MySchool Online.

These schools had five cases each: Charles Rushe Middle and Fivay, River Ridge and Sunlake high schools.

These schools had four cases each: Cypress Elementary, John Long Middle, Land O’Lakes High, and Sunray Elementary.

More than 30,000 staff and students have been affected this year by quarantines in Pasco, the only district in the area that publishes that statistic.

Pinellas County: In the first four days of the week there were 97 cases in Pinellas. In nearly all cases, there were three or fewer per school.

Leading the district with four cases each were East Lake High, Frontier Elementary, John Hopkins Middle and Osceola High. East Lake High has had 141 cases since the school year began.

Earlier this month, Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Palm Harbor University High School, which reported three cases of coronavirus this week. There have been 106 cases on the campus since the school year began.
Earlier this month, Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Palm Harbor University High School, which reported three cases of coronavirus this week. There have been 106 cases on the campus since the school year began. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

These schools had three cases each: Carwise Middle, Curlew Creek Elementary, Hollins High, Palm Harbor University High, Pinellas Park High, Pinellas Technical College St. Petersburg, Seminole High and Tarpon Springs High. The district’s Walter Pownall Service Center also had three cases.

Across the four Tampa Bay area districts, the total this week was 625. Since schools opened in August, the Tampa Bay Times has tracked 14,864 staff and student cases, excluding nearly all cases that occurred in private schools.

Colleges and universities:

Since April 9, the University of South Florida reported that 16 students and 15 employees across the school’s campuses have tested positive. Cases listed are those that have been 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 18 student cases and one employee case. St. Petersburg College reported five cases across its 13 campuses and Hillsborough Community College reported 12 cases across its four campuses. Eckerd College reported 20 active cases among residential students this week.

Earlier reports:

Week ending March 12

Week ending March 26

Week ending April 3

Week ending April 9

Staff writer Divya Kumar contributed to this report.