DCPS clarifies how it reports COVID-19 cases in district

Students, parents, staff call for clarity

Jacksonville, FL. — A new clarifying note on the Duval County Public Schools dashboard says, “The dashboard only reports Duval County Public School employee or student cases impacting school operations. The total number of employees or students diagnosed with COVID-19 may be higher.”

A representative for the district said the dashboard had always just shown cases that impacted school operations. “Nothing has changed about the numbers,” Dr. Tracy Pierce, Chief of Marketing and PR for DCPS, said. “What’s important to post is those cases that are actually impacting the school community. We wanted to be clear in how we were describing the information.”

The district said any time there is a case resulting in contact tracing at the school, it is reported on the dashboard. That includes cases in which no students or staff needed to quarantine. But, Pierce said cases in which a student or staff were on distanced learning or in Duval HomeRoom, it would not be reported on the dashboard.

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“We don’t want to give people a false impression of what’s actually happening in the schools,” he said.

DCPS phased high school students off its hybrid model Monday. Now, all students in the brick & mortar option are learning in-person five days a week. The district said its case number is ‘manageable’.

Action News Jax compared the case numbers with other large districts across the state. As of Tuesday, DCPS reported more than 100 cases district-wide. That’s about 0.08% of the total student population.

Hillsborough County, which has more than 220,000 students, reported about 424 cases. That’s .19% positive cases. Pasco County, which is smaller than Duval with more than 75,000 students total, reported about .20% of its population with positive cases, or 156.

“We are balancing the needs to keep the community informed with the needs to protect medical privacy,” Dr. Pierce said. “We feel we’ve struck the right chord there.”