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Monday, February 26, 2024

Alachua County Public Schools’ COVID-19 cases increase following winter break

New cases among staff are at an all-time high since schools first reopened in August 2020

New COVID-19 cases among staff and students more than tripled after the first four days back in classrooms from winter break — and this data could be an underestimation, ACPS spokesperson Jackie Johnson said.

“We’ve had the highest number of active cases we’ve ever had,” Johnson said. “And we’ve got the highest total weekly number we’ve had since schools reopened.” 

After the first week back, there were 334 new student cases and 55 new staff cases — contributing to a total of 476 reported cases among both groups.

During the week prior, in which staff and students were on break, there were still 78 new student cases and 16 new staff cases reported. Compared with this first week back in classrooms, staff cases increased by 243% and student cases increased by 328%. Even with a reported increase in cases, Johnson said these numbers are most likely an undercount. 

“The problem is the lag time with the tests,” Johnson said. “Employees notify us that they’ve got symptoms, and it takes them two or three days to get a test appointment and it takes them another couple of days to get the results back.” 

The mask mandate for employees, visitors and volunteers aimed to combat the spread of the virus. Despite this effort, ACPS has had the highest weekly total of active cases among staff since August 2020. 

ACPS warns families that the increase in staff cases could impact daily operations such as bus transportation. The county also expects more teacher absences during this surge. 

Throughout this month, the Alachua County Health Department is offering vaccines at all ACPS elementary and middle schools. Anyone above the age of 5 can get a vaccine. 

In elementary schools, there were 112 new student cases and 29 new staff cases as of Sunday. 

In middle schools, there were 79 new student cases and five new staff cases. High schools saw 141 new student cases and 12 new staff cases. In staff departments, there were seven new staff cases.

In elementary schools, there are 112 new student cases and 29 new staff cases as of Sunday. 

Alachua Elementary: 9 students and 3 staff

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Archer Community: 2 students and 1 staff

Chiles Elementary: 2 students and 2 staff

Glen Springs Elementary: 13 students and 1 staff

Hidden Oak Elementary: 7 students and 1 staff

High Springs Community: 9 students

Idylwild Elementary: 9 students 

Irby Elementary: 7 students and 5 staff

Lake Forest Elementary: 3 students and 5 staff

Littlewood Elementary: 2 students and 6 staff

Meadowbrook Elementary: 1 student 

Metcalfe Elementary: 2 students

Newberry Elementary: 7 students

Norton Elementary: 10 students and 2 staff

Parker Elementary: 4 students and 3 staff

Rawlings Elementary: 1 student and 2 staff

Stephen Foster Elementary: 2 students

Terwilliger Elementary: 14 students and 1 staff

Wiles Elementary: 21 students and 2 staff

Williams Elementary: 6 students and 1 staff 

In middle schools, there are 79 new student cases and 5 new staff cases. 

Fort Clarke Middle: 16 students and 3 staff

Howard Bishop Middle: 17 students

Kanapaha Middle: 27 students and 2 staff

Lincoln Middle: 13 students and 1 staff

Mebane Middle: 10 students and 1 staff

Oak View Middle: 9 students

Westwood Middle: 7 students 

The centers have 2 new student cases and 2 new staff cases. 

Sidney Lanier Center: 2 students and 3 staff

In high schools, there are 141 new student cases and 12 new staff cases.

Buchholz High: 66 students and 10 staff

Eastside High: 21 students

Gainesville High: 62 students and 1 staff

Newberry High: 11 students 

PAM @ Loften High: 2 staff

Santa Fe High: 14 students and 2 staff 

In staff departments, there are 7 new staff cases. 

Fearnside Family Services: 1 staff

District Office: 2 staff

Maintenance: 4 staff

Sivia Center: 3 staff

Contact Emma at or follow her on Twitter @emmabehrmann.

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Emma Behrmann

Emma Behrmann is a fourth-year journalism major and the Fall 2023 digital managing editor. In the past, she was metro desk editor, K-12 education reporter and a university news assistant. When she's not reporting, she's lifting at the gym.

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