More than 60,000 COVID cases related to FL K-12 public and private schools raise questions about safety

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Classroom. Credit: Pixabay.

With new data from the first month of the 2021 spring semester, the total number of school-related COVID cases has risen to 60,690, which includes both public and private K-12 schools in Florida.

The figure is based on COVID cases from Sept. 6 through Jan. 30, according to a Phoenix analysis of data from the Florida Department of Health.

The breakout of those total COVID cases are:

45,778 student cases; 4,796 teacher cases, 3,061 staff cases, and 7,055 other COVID cases related to public and private K-12 schools.

The Phoenix analysis also found that 41,299 of the cases showed symptoms of COVID-19, while 12,849 cases were asymptomatic. The remaining 6,542 cases could not be identified as either.

The state health department also isolates data from the last full week of January, showing that, from Jan. 24 through Jan. 30, there were 4,854 new cases related to public and private schools, student, teacher, staff, and other cases.

Of growing concern is that Florida leads the nation in the number of more contagious COVID mutations spreading across the state and country, raising questions about whether students and faculty are safe to attend brick and mortar classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While some students opted for online learning options and continue to learn from home, other student have been in brick-and-mortar instruction since the beginning of the school year.

In other COVID data:

Florida has nearly 1.78-million COVID infections across the state as of Monday, and 27,815 resident deaths.

On the vaccine front: Florida has hit the 2-million mark for people getting the COVID vaccines, with exactly 2,016,291 people vaccinated as of Monday. That includes both one dose and two doses. About 1.5 million people were 65 and older, according to the data.

To put it into perspective, Florida has 21.5 million people, so the vaccinations have a long way to go.

As to COVID-19 infections, Florida ranks 3rd of the 50 states for the number of COVID cases, but 30 of the 50 states when it comes to infections per 100,000 people, according to a New York Times tracker.

As to deaths, Florida ranks 4th in the number of COVID deaths, but 25th for the death rate.

Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University, majoring in English with a focus in editing, writing, and media. While at FSU, she served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine, Nomadic Noles. Last fall, she fulfilled another editorial internship with Rowland Publishing, where she wrote for the Tallahassee Magazine, Emerald Coast Magazine, and 850 Business Magazine. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat. She spends her downtime traveling to all corners of Florida and beyond to practice lindy hop.