3 more Pinellas County students test positive for COVID-19
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11 classrooms were quarantined as a result.

Three more Pinellas County students have tested positive for COVID-19 since schools reopened Monday, according to the school district’s daily report covering cases reported Tuesday.

One student tested positive at Carwise Middle School, resulting in seven classes being quarantined.

A student at the Pinellas Academy of Math and Science charter school also tested positive, resulting in four classes being quarantined.

A Clearwater High School student also tested positive, but was never on campus so no quarantines were needed.

No employees tested positive Tuesday.

Because of the COVID-19 incubation period and the short period of time schools have been open, the new cases are likely not the result of spread within the schools, rather infections that occurred prior to school opening. Whether these cases lead to spread within the affected schools will become more clear in the coming days and weeks.

It’s the second report showing positive cases among students and staff since the school year began with in-person learning Monday.

Pinellas County Schools spokesperson Isabel Mascareñas confirmed in an email late Monday three students and three staff members tested positive at four schools and one district facility.

Northeast High School was affected as well as Pinellas Park Elementary School, Shore Acres Elementary School, and Carwise Middle School. There were also two staff diagnoses at the Walter Pownall Service Center.

Only Northeast High and Pinellas Park Elementary issued quarantines at that time. The students and staff who tested positive at Carwise Middle and Shore Acres Elementary and the staff members at the district facility all self-isolated before school began, negating the need for quarantine. Tuesday’s Carwise case was in addition to the positive test confirmed for an employee Monday.

The cases come as a lawsuit hangs in the balance over Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s Executive Order requiring to schools to open for in-person learning five days a week or risk losing state funding.

A Leon County judge ruled the order unconstitutional, but the state immediately filed a notice of appeal, prompting a stay on his ruling.

While the ruling could eventually allow individual school districts to close without financial consequences, there hasn’t been a discussion in Pinellas County about closing schools and moving to virtual learning if it’s upheld.

The Pinellas County Schools district requires students to wear masks on campus and implemented several safety protocols including enhanced cleaning and social distancing where possible.

In a Tuesday School Board meeting, Superintendent Michael Grego said classrooms have limited capacity and half of the districts school bus fleet are running with just one student seated per bench. In the other half, seats are limited to two students. While the benches are large enough for three students to sit shoulder to shoulder, they are certainly not big enough to provide six-feet of separation between two students, as health officials recommend. Masks are also required on buses.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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