Pinellas County Schools confirmed eight new cases of COVID-19 in schools Wednesday, according to the district’s Thursday report.
Three employees and five students at six schools tested positive for the virus, resulting in four classrooms with quarantine orders and one bus.
Two students tested positive for the virus at McMullen Booth Elementary School, resulting in quarantine orders in two classrooms and on one bus.
A student and an employee tested positive at Douglas Jamerson Elementary School, resulting in quarantines in one classroom.
A student also tested positive, impacting one classroom, at Westgate Elementary School.
Boca Ciega High School reported one student case and one employee each tested positive at Kings Highway Elementary School and Clearwater Intermediate School. None of those cases resulted in quarantines, however.
This week, the district began altering the way it determines quarantines. Previously if a student or staff member tested positive for COVID-19, any classroom where that individual had been was quarantined. Now, the Department of Health Pinellas County only quarantines students who were in close proximity with a positive patient, typically within six-feet for at least 15 minutes.
The district does not report the exact number of quarantines, only the number of classrooms or buses affected.
Since schools reopened, 23 students have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as 21 school employees and eight district employees who work at the Walter Pownall Service Center, which doesn’t have a student population.
At least 60 classrooms and two buses have had quarantine orders as well as the Palm Harbor University High School varsity football team.
A total of 32 schools have now reported cases of COVID-19 among students or staff. All but eight have had to issue quarantines in at least one classroom or on a bus or sporting team.
It’s difficult to estimate how many students and staff have been quarantined because class sizes vary and the new reporting guidelines don’t necessarily include quarantines for entire classrooms, but with known affected classes, buses and sporting teams, it’s likely the number is around 600.