Health department reports roughly twice the COVID-19 cases as DCPS dashboard

Virtual, charter school students contribute to disparity in virus case reporting

Virtual, charter school students contribute to disparity in virus case reporting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County families have two official sources of information about the spread of the coronavirus in their local schools — the statewide report published approximately once a week by the Florida Department of Health and the Duval County Public Schools COVID-19 Dashboard, updated daily.

However, the two have different criteria for which cases are included in their respective reports.

As of Dec. 13, the FDOH report shows 1,326 confirmed cases of the virus among students and staff within DCPS, while at the time the district’s dashboard reported only 649 cases.

As of Thursday, the district dashboard showed 683 cases.

While the statewide school report includes all students and staff whether they are working remotely or not, the district’s dashboard excludes infected students and staff who participate in the virtual format.

“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,” the website said. “Student cases are reported based on those attending in-person classes, as well as extra-curricular participants, and not those solely enrolled through Duval HomeRoom or Duval Virtual.”

The DCPS dashboard also omits cases that arise in the district’s 36 charter schools.

“We’re unable to capture charter school data due to incompatibility of information systems,” DCPS strategic communications director Laureen Ricks told News4Jax in a September email. “Charter schools are free to do whatever is in the best interest of their school communities with respect to sharing COVID-19 impact data.”

The DCPS dashboard also does not indicate how many students and staff have been told to quarantine due to close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19. However, the Dec. 13 FDOH report states that since Aug. 20, 4,910 students and staff members have been told to quarantine.

About the Author:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.