As students return to schools, so does coronavirus

With classes resuming across the Bay Area, districts are encountering their first cases of COVID-19.

A student at Fivay High School tested positive yesterday, the first case for Pasco County schools. 

A letter went out to all Fivay families last night. It indicates that the students who came in close contact with the infected student will be notified separately and will have to quarantine.

The Department of Health reported nearly 9,000 children under 18 tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks, which is when schools reopened in many districts in Florida. That's roughly a 400-case increase over the previous two weeks.

Experts at USF Health expect the number of cases in children to increase, both because of the school spreading and because kids are being tested at a higher rate.

RELATED: State unpublishes report tracking COVID-19 cases on school campuses

Doctors say contact tracing is going to be key to keeping those numbers as low as possible, and a spokesperson for Pasco schools says his district is trying to do just that.

"Now that school is back in session, I think that everyone's concern is that the numbers are going to start to go back up again. So we have a responsibility in schools to take the steps that we need to take,” Steve Hegarty explained.

Pinellas County schools started Monday, and the district is reporting three new cases as of yesterday.

Hillsborough County schools will reopen for in-person learning next week. Superintendent Addison Davis says the tentative threshold to keep a school open is 15- to 20-percent quarantined.

If the number of students and staff infected exceeds that, the district may have to close down that particular building.

Pasco and Polk are among the districts that are making public all of the daily cases. Davis says Hillsborough’s dashboard should be up within 48 hours.

RELATED: Florida's order to reopen brick-and-mortar schools is unconstitutional, judge rules