A high school junior shares a glimpse of what digital learning is like during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Florida Department of Health released a report Tuesday that lists COVID-19 cases in schools across the state. But the numbers don’t add up.
More precisely, the amount of confirmed cases that Leon County Schools reports and the numbers reported by the state health department aren’t the same.
The state shows confirmed cases at 23 schools in Leon County between Sept. 6 and Sept. 26, which includes laboratory schools, charters and universities.
But the report is missing more than half of cases that local educational institutions have reported themselves.
At Florida State University, which has reported 1,448 students positive for COVID-19, the state health department lists only one case.
Florida A&M University has reported 88 total positive cases among students and staff. The state health department does not list FAMU in its report.
At least 13 schools in the capital county’s public school district reporting confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff and students are missing from state health department data.
That translates to 18 unaccounted for cases, not to mention the roughly 22 cases not recorded at the schools on DOH’s list.
“It’s not even close,” said Assistant Superintendent Alan Cox, who oversees health and wellness at Leon County Schools.
Cox pointed to the missing schools that the district identifies in its online COVID-19 dashboard:
- Swift Creek Middle School
- Fort Braden School
- Elizabeth Cobb Middle School
- Canopy Oaks Elementary School
- Wesson Early Childhood Program
- James S. Rickards High School
- Hawks Rise Elementary School
- Buck Lake Elementary School
- Success Academy alternative school
- Lively Technical College
- Adult and Community Education School
- Griffin Middle School
- W.T. Moore Elementary School
Assistant Superintendent of School Management Services Alan Cox speaks during a news conference held at Leon County Schools on COVID-19 Monday, March 16, 2020. (Photo: Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat)
As of Wednesday, the public school district reported a cumulative total of 58 students and 21 employees positive for COVID-19, while the health department shows only 31 cases between district students and staff.
The schools on the health department’s list with missing cases confirmed by the district are:
- Amos P. Godby High School
- Astoria Park Elementary School
- Lawton Chiles High School
- Leon High School
- Lincoln High School
- Roberts Elementary School
- Springwood Elementary School
- Montford Middle School
Notably, the state health department report is missing at least 17 students and two staff members at Chiles High School who have tested positive, the district reports.
Cox said the school district immediately alerts the Leon County Department of Health, the local office of the state health department, of every confirmed COVID-19 case that is reported by a parent or school staff member.
Leon County health department spokeswoman Pam Saulsby said the state data for cases of COVID-19 in schools, which she said will update on Tuesdays, is gathered from local health departments and “represents the best, most accurate information available.”
But Cox said, “All I can tell you is, it’s wrong.”
Casey Chapter is the news editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. Reach her at CChapter@Tallahassee.com or follow her on Twitter @CaseyChapter.
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