PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — The recent surge in COVID-19 cases is hitting Pasco County Public Schools hard, and school leaders are worried about upcoming holidays.
“I want everyone to be aware that we are headed into a challenging time that could force us to make some difficult decisions,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning in a video message to the district.
The district sent about 163 students and three teachers home to quarantine Monday.
“We’ve had a couple of bad weeks where the numbers continue to go up,” said district spokesperson Stee Hegarty.
According to the district’s website, these are the numbers so far this year: 323 students and 131 staff members have tested positive; 6,203 students and 568 staff members have been exposed.
“Many of these cases could have been avoided.”
Browning said students and staff are following the district’s COVID-19 rules while on school property.
“We know that many of our students and staff let their guards down when they leave school or work,” he said.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks coming up, the district is worried about what the numbers will be when students get back.
If the numbers are higher, Hegarty said “it would be necessary to tighten the rules.”
That means after school activities and sporting events may be limited or canceled.
In his video to students and parents, Browning said “we need your help” because he doesn’t have to make that call.
“It is extremely important that we all remain vigilant, especially with the holidays fast approaching.”
The district is working with the health department and monitoring local infection rates.
“That will determine our strategies going forward,” said Browning.