With the 2020-21 school year starting to wind down, Florida Department of Health data show more than 90,000 COVID cases related to K-12 schools since September.
But starting Monday, teens as young as 16 will be able to get the COVID vaccines, which can help diminish the number of COVID cases in classrooms.
Overall, there were 92,028 COVID cases related to Florida’s public and private K-12 schools from Sept 6 through Mar 27, according to a Phoenix analysis of the health data. Of the total number of COVID cases in that timeframe, there were almost 71,000 student cases of COVID-19.
Since the Department of Health began releasing data back in September, student cases have consistently contributed the most to the count of COVID cases related to Florida’s K-12 schools, in comparison to teachers, staff, and others.
When isolating the week of March 21 through March 27, the Phoenix found 2,844 COVID cases related to Florida’s public and private K-12 schools, which is an increase of about 500 cases from the week before.
The breakout of that data: 2336 students, 199 teachers, 131 staff, and 178 other cases in that timeframe.
As of Monday, 16- and 17-year-olds are authorized to receive the Pfizer vaccine in Florida, while high-schoolers who are 18-years-old can have their pick of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
But there may be a challenge for those under 18: minors will have to get consent from a parent or guardian to even get the COVID vaccine.
“All individuals under the age of 18 receiving a vaccine must be accompanied by a guardian and complete the COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form,” the Florida Department of Health’s website says.
Meaning a 16-year-old who wants to get the COVID vaccine may not be able to because their parent or guardian does not want them to.