Less than two weeks since private and public schools resumed in Duval County, the Florida Department of Health reported 24 COVID-19 cases in the county’s elementary, middle and high schools.
That number is part of a new data set included in the state department’s daily COVID-19 report. According to the department, the new segment tracks student and staff cases related to schools based on residency (not school location). It does not differentiate between public and private schools.
Statewide, the department said 559 COVID-19 cases related to primary and secondary schools were recorded between Aug. 10 and Sunday in its Monday morning report. An additional 1,351 elementary, middle and high school-related COVID-19 cases were recorded by the department between March 1 and Aug. 10.
Dade County has the highest number of school-related cases, with 48 according to the report.
The state report also said that throughout Florida, the majority of elementary, middle and high school-related cases — 68.2 percent — were staff members. The age group most impacted by the virus were those 45 to 54 years old.
In Clay County, the state reported 4 cases; in St. Johns, 7; Nassau, 4; Baker, 6; and Putnam, 24.
The Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 tracking reports have been inconsistent. The methodology for reporting what cases were related to schools versus unrelated was not included.
In Martin County, where almost 400 students are in quarantine, the state reported 26 school-related COVID-19 cases — only two more than Duval County, where public schools have been in session three days as of Monday. Private schools largely started the week of Aug. 10.
Additionally, the state reported that Duval County had only three COVID-19 cases since Aug. 10 related to colleges and universities when schools that are self-reporting are saying those numbers are higher.
The University of North Florida alone has reported 13 student and employee COVID-19 cases since Aug. 10.
The Times-Union has reached out to both the state and local health department for clarification.
The new report also includes daycare-related COVID-19 numbers. Since March, there have been 1,642 cases impacting daycare attendees, staff and other groups, the report said. More than half of those who contracted COVID-19 (54.6 percent) were staff.
Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Diana Greene announced before schools opened on Aug. 20 that the district would make its COVID-19 numbers publicly available through a web dashboard that would launch when school started.
At 12:30 p.m. Monday, district staff told the Times-Union the website was still “under construction,” but that the district would provide updates later in the afternoon.
Conversely, private schools including Bolles and Episcopal School of Jacksonville — which told parents it was ordering “a number of students” who had been exposed to COVID-19 off-campus to quarantine — declined to release numbers publicly citing privacy concerns.
It’s worth noting that in March, the U.S. Department of Education said schools could release information about COVID-19 cases as long as it doesn’t identify the student.
This new report comes just days after ousted Florida Department of Health employee, Rebekah Jones, announced she would track school-related cases herself in light of the health department not releasing case numbers since schools started reopening this month.
This story will be updated.
Emily Bloch is an education reporter for The Florida Times-Union. Follow her on Twitter or email her.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Department of Health lists 24 Duval County school-related COVID-19 cases