Monday will mark the end of the first quarter, or nine weeks, in Alachua County Public Schools — with almost 200 COVID-19 cases.
High school sports and out-of-school socializing have been described as the culprit for an increase of cases in public schools, according to a release from the county health department and ACPS on Thursday.
COVID-19 cases have jumped by 19 student cases and 22 staff cases in the last week, according to the school district’s COVID-19 dashboard. The total number of cases are 125 student cases and 70 staff cases.
Since schools opened, pediatric COVID-19 cases in Alachua County have risen from 432 on Aug. 31 to 714 on Oct. 28, according to data from the Florida Department of Health. Positive cases in Alachua County have increased almost 40% while the state positivity has increased about 25%.
Alachua County’s increase in pediatric cases overshadows the state’s increase. However, not all pediatric cases are in classrooms. Some younger children aren't counted in the ACPS dashboard. Some of these cases are in preschool, home school or digital students.
An outbreak of COVID-19 at Gainesville High School is renewing concerns about what the case count must be for a school to close. The release notes schools would close if “10% of all classes in a middle or high school or three or more classes in an elementary school were closed due to quarantines and after consultation” with the school district’s Scientific Medical Advisory Council.
The high school announced Oct. 26 that the volleyball team had to cancel its state regional semifinals match against Forest High School in Ocala because players tested positive for the virus, according to a social media post.
There are currently no plans to close any schools. However, almost 400 people were in quarantine this week in ACPS.
The outbreak has increased high school cases this week. Buchholz has one student case, Gainesville has 14 and Santa Fe has 10. There are two staff cases at Eastside, five at Gainesville and one at Santa Fe.
There is one student case each at Alachua, Chiles, Glen Springs and Metcalfe Elementary Schools. Two cases each were reported at Idylwild and Meadowbrook. Staff members tested positive at Foster, Idylwild, Littlewood, Metcalfe and Wiles. Two staff members at Parker and Talbot also have the virus.
In ACPS’ middle schools, there is one student case each at Kanapaha, Lincoln and Oak View. Hawthorne and Mebane each reported one staff case.
Sidney Lanier Center has one student and one staff case. A. Quinn Jones has four staff cases.
District departments have six staff cases.