Four Pinellas County Schools employees test positive for COVID-19, no new quarantines

Red sign warning of coronavirus on a background of yellow school bus parking lot. Concept for closing schools or universities for quarantine because of covid-19 epidemic or pandemic outbreak
At least 42 classrooms have been quarantined so far.

Four additional Pinellas County Schools employees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the district’s Friday report covering cases confirmed Thursday.

A total of 23 district employees have tested positive since schools opened last Monday for in-person learning. That includes 15 employees who work at schools and eight who have tested positive at the Walter Pownall Service Center, which doesn’t directly serve students.

Of the four new cases, none required classroom or bus quarantines, leaving the number of classrooms quarantined district-wide at least 42.

The district did not provide a number of quarantined classrooms for two schools that had cases and quarantines on the first day of school, meaning the number of quarantines could be higher.

At an average of 10 students per class, that means some 420 students may currently be quarantined. That estimate doesn’t include bus quarantines, of which there has been at least one. Superintendent Michael Grego said during a School Board meeting last week that buses average about 20 students each. The district only began reporting bus quarantines this week.

The four schools affected Thursday include Maximo Elementary, Walsingham Elementary, Safety Harbor Elementary and Clearwater Intermediate School.

A total of 21 schools have now reported cases among students or staff, or both. Of those, 12 have issued quarantines. Affected classes must quarantine for two weeks. Students are encouraged to utilize online learning during the quarantine, if well enough to do so. Teachers are also able to teach online, if well. Teachers who are sick, receive paid leave under federal COVID-19 protections.

The Pinellas County School district has about 200 schools, meaning just about 10% have so far been affected by COVID-19 cases.

Elsewhere in the Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough Schools have reported 179 cases since July 31, numbers that include cases reported before schools opened for in-person learning. The district does not yet report the number of quarantines.

Pasco County reported six cases Wednesday, five among students, and one among staff. The district has now quarantined 284 students and 33 employees.

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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