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Hillsborough Schools report highest number of student COVID-19 cases Wednesday

The district has reported 72 cases since schools reopened.

The Hillsborough County School District reported its highest number of daily student cases Wednesday with 10 new positive cases.

The report surpassed Tuesday, when the district confirmed nine student cases, and continues the upward trend in coronavirus cases in the district following Labor Day weekend.

Of Wednesday’s 10 student cases, four were reported at Walker Middle Magnet School. The dashboard also showed one employee case at Forest Hills Elementary School.

The district has seen 72 reported cases since reopening brick-and-mortar classrooms — 48 student cases and 24 staff cases.

Students and employees listed in the dashboard since reopening have each been on campus, except for four students listed on the Aug. 31 report who were not on campus, since it was the first day of school. The dashboard is updated automatically every hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Individuals in contact with a confirmed case on campus must be quarantined, required to stay home for 14 days. However, the district has yet to release quarantine information publicly, despite neighboring Pasco and Pinellas counties recording quarantine numbers. Pasco releases the total number of students and employees quarantined while Pinellas reports only classrooms affected.

The highest student case numbers in Hillsborough follows news of the Florida Education Association criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis for a lack of transparency regarding COVID-19 in schools.

The FEA released a 30-second commercial slamming DeSantis for not providing more campus data on infections. The Association has also leveled criticism at Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran for pushing school openings without releasing more health information.

“The Governor and the Education Commissioner have been pressuring school districts and health departments to keep them from releasing relevant and important information about coronavirus in our schools,” said FEA President Andrew Spar.

The state’s largest teachers union recently sued the administration over a Corcoran order requiring all schools to reopen five days a week at the end of August. Courts ruled that order was unconstitutionalthough the administration has appealed, prompting a stay. At this point, many districts that wanted to delay opening have gone ahead and opened schools anyway amid legal uncertainty.

Hillsborough abandoned its previous plan to delay in-person learning four weeks. Instead, the district conducted the first week of school exclusively online and reopened brick and mortar learning to students Aug. 31.

Written By

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at kelly@floridapolitics.com.

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