Hillsborough County Public Schools released an in-depth dashboard to give people an accurate snapshot of how the virus was reported in each individual school.
Students flocked back to their classrooms Monday morning wearing masks and social distancing as much as possible as they attempted to continue their education.
Parents immediately took to social media, sharing their fears and concerns as well as their praise of the steps local teachers have made to keep the children as safe as possible while in their rooms. Hillsborough County Public Schools joined the conversation on Monday and announced it released a dashboard reporting COVID-19 cases in local schools.
The database went live immediately and is an interactive site for parents, teachers and students to get a snapshot of what the spread of COVID-19 looks like at that very moment. It contains information on the number of positive cases among both teachers and students and users can select a date to see which schools reported cases that day. The data goes back to July 31, which is when teachers officially reported back to work.
It’s an interesting tool and one many have asked for for weeks. Currently, the Florida Department of Health does not release information regarding the COVID-19 cases in schools but rather incorporates that data into the overall daily county and statewide reporting.
While the dashboard itself has a detailed breakdown of data from July 31 to today, it does have a disclaimer at the top of the chart that has a much larger number. As of Wednesday, 163 cases had been reported in local schools this school year. But HCPS is also looking at the larger picture.
The pandemic began right as school started to wrap up last year. During that time several teachers, students and staff contacted the virus. Keeping those cases in mind, HCPS is also reporting the total number of confirmed cases from March 2020 to July 30, 2020, which aren’t in the interactive dashboard. It shows there were 284 cases from March to July.
One of the best benefits of the dashboard is that parents can make the numbers make sense for their family. There are 163 total cases, but what does that mean for students in Plant City?
As of the data on Wednesday morning, there was one student at Bryan Elementary who was reported to have COVID-19. At Durant, three teachers and one student were reported. Knights Elementary had one teacher reported. Marshall Middle School had one teacher. Robinson Elementary had one teacher that tested positive. Simmons Career Center had one positive teacher. Strawberry Crest had one positive teacher and two positive students.
According to the HCPS, the dashboard is going to be updated automatically every two hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can view it for yourself at hillsboroughschools.org/doc/2744/school-reopening-plan/frequently-asked-questions/coviddash/.