A reported 237 Leon County Schools students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 since spring classes began this week.
According to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, 194 students and 43 staff members have tested positive since Tuesday’s teacher planning day. Two hundred sixty-six students total are currently quarantined away from school, or .87% of all students in the district.
The district’s high schools have seen the largest individual case numbers. Lincoln, Rickards, Lawton Chiles and Leon high schools have 87 of the district’s student cases. Moore and Gilchrest elementary schools each have 17 positive students.
Due to the spike, Leon County Schools employees, including teachers, are required to wear a mask indoors if they cannot socially distance themselves from others. Additionally, students and employees who test positive must quarantine for 10 days.
Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna told a group of parents, teachers and officials at a School Board Advisory Council meeting Thursday that he and other district officials saw the spike coming.
According to Hanna, no student who has tested positive has needed to go to the hospital as of Thursday. However, he added that a large number of students in all grade levels had not attended classes during the first two days of the semester.
“Hopefully, some of those fears will begin to subside, and we can get kids back,” he said.
Hanna added that the district’s hands are tied when it comes to reinstating a student mask requirement because of legislation banning mask mandates passed during December’s emergency Legislative Session. Hanna has been critical of the mask mandate ban legislation and backed the district’s previous lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask ban executive order.
He said that while he expects cases to continue in the coming days, he is hopeful that their frequency will decrease in the coming weeks.
The school district’s spike comes with a similar spike in the Leon County community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 4,107 new COVID-19 cases over the past week. Two weeks ago, that number sat in the 200s.
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