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Pinellas schools report 11 new cases of COVID-19 on campuses

East Lake High School continues to struggle with new cases.

East Lake High School continues to lead the county’s COVID-19 impacts in public schools, with two more students confirmed positive for the virus Tuesday, according to data the school district released Wednesday.

The cases resulted in 12 partial classroom quarantines. The north county school has now confirmed 11 student and one employee cases of COVID-19 since schools reopened. At least 56 classrooms and three partial buses have been impacted, according to cumulative data Florida Politics is tracking.

That’s more than 20 more classroom impacts than the next highest impacted school, St. Petersburg High School, which has also reported 11 student cases but has only issued quarantines in 34 classrooms, on one bus and the school’s varsity volleyball team.

East Lake had the most reported impacts Tuesday, followed by Palm Harbor University High School, which reported one student case and five partial classroom quarantines.

In all, seven public school students and four employees were reported positive Tuesday and 22 partial classrooms were quarantined. The cases also affected a swim team.

Seminole High School reported its first case, a student, which prompted four partial classroom quarantines.

Frontier Elementary School also reported its first case, also a student, affecting one partial classroom.

Boca Ciega High School reported one student case and quarantined part of the school’s swim team.

Osceola Middle School reported one student and one employee case, but did not issue quarantines.

Cypress Woods Elementary School, Oak Grove Middle School and Lake St. George Elementary School all reported one employee case, but no impacts to classrooms, buses or extra-curricular activities.

Plato Academy St. Petersburg reported one case each among an employee and a student, but no quarantines were required as those impacted had already been in self-quarantine or were otherwise not on campus. Charter Schools report differently than traditional public schools and follow their own prescribed quarantine guidelines. As such, Florida Politics reports them separately from traditional public schools. While charter schools have more autonomy than traditional public schools, Plato Academy uses Department of Health guidelines to determine quarantine protocols, which have been more cautious than the district’s procedures.

So far, 76 Pinellas County traditional public schools have reported COVID-19 cases among students or staff since schools reopened Aug. 24. A total of 125 students and 49 employees have tested positive and at least 342 classrooms have been impacted.

Cases have also affected 16 buses, several sports teams or groups and some “small groups of students” at schools.

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 Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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