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Florida Department of Health begins releasing data on COVID-19 in schools

Hundreds of schools affected across state

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, students keep social distance as they walk to their classroom in Highwood, Ill. The coronavirus is infecting a rising number of American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears driven by school reopenings and the resumption of sports, playdates and other activities. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, students keep social distance as they walk to their classroom in Highwood, Ill. The coronavirus is infecting a rising number of American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears driven by school reopenings and the resumption of sports, playdates and other activities. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Starting Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health has begun releasing data showing COVID-19 cases in schools across the state.

The 13-page document lists schools and colleges that have had COVID-19 cases but it doesn’t provide a cumulative total of cases reported in all Florida schools.

“The Department of Health is committed to transparency and providing the most up-to-date COVID-19 information to Floridians. The school report will be updated every Tuesday,” an FDOH spokesperson said in an email.

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The document is organized alphabetically by county and then by school name. While at least a thousand schools are listed, there does seem to be discrepancies between what the FDOH is reporting and what those campuses are reporting.

That could be because most campuses are reporting their totals based on when the semester began while the FDOH data only includes cases that were diagnosed between Sept. 6 through Saturday.

For example, the University of Central Florida has its own coronavirus dashboard that shows 534 student cases of COVID-19 have been reported this semester.

FDOH lists 160 cases among students, teachers and staff within the past three weeks at UCF. Of those, 121 patients experienced symptoms while 28 did not and the remaining 11 are unknown.

Most primary and secondary schools on the list are reporting case numbers in the single digits. In Orange County, 102 elementary, middle and high schools are listed and the campus with the most cases is Olympia High School with 13 cases reported between Sept. 6 and Saturday.

The only other Orange County school on FDOH’s list that has more than 10 cases is West Orange High School with 11.

The dashboard Orange County Public Schools created to track COVID-19 cases associated with campuses since schools reopened on Aug. 21 shows 11 cases at Olympia High School and 13 cases at West Orange High School.

The OCPS dashboard is updated at 11:59 p.m. each day while the FDOH report will be posted each Tuesday here.

While the FDOH report shows case numbers have remained relatively low on primary and secondary school campuses, multiple colleges are reporting figures in the hundreds.

The University of Florida has the most cases with 419, followed by Florida State University with 385.

As of Tuesday, Florida has reported 704,568 coronavirus cases since March and 14,313 deaths.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.


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