Most Likely To Bring COVID-19 To The Classroom? Still Staff Not Students
Bottom Line: South Florida’s School Districts continue to unlawfully impose school mask mandates without parental optouts. This despite South Florida’s spread of COVID-19 now being 88% below peak levels reached in mid-August, around the start of the school year. While there’s no indication as to when the school districts intend to comply with law by dropping their mandatory mask policies, we’ve continued to see a dynamic playout in school districts in which those most likely to test positive aren’t the students whose rights have been violated but rather employees of the school districts. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated this story. The numbers have changed but the reality hasn’t. Employees of the Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County School Districts have been more likely to test positive for COVID-19 at school than the students.
As part of my analysis, I took the current data available on each school district’s COVID-19 dashboards (as of October 19th) along with the current student and staff populations to produce the results. Here’s the latest:
- 33,000 employees – 632 infections:1.9%
- 271,000students – 2,639 infections: 1.0%
- Miami Dade
- 54,861 employees – 473 infections:0.9%
- 350,000students – 2,939 infections:0.8%
- Palm Beach County
- 22,426 employees – 894 infections:4.0%
- 176,724students – 5,588 infections: 3.2%
Palm Beach County has the highest rate of both school district employees and students testing positive for COVID-19. That’s followed by Broward and Miami Dade. It just so happens that the COVID cases reported by school districts mirror the vaccination rates in each county. Dade, with the fewest infections has the highest vaccination rate with 93% of the county’s vaccine eligible population having been vaccinated. In Broward, the vaccination rate is 82% among the eligible and in Palm Beach County the vax rate stands at 75%. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that vaccination rates correspond with the rates of COVID-19 detected in each county’s school district, but it’s most plausible that there’s something to it. Using the information available in this analysis, the school districts would probably be better served by focusing on the vaccination rates of their faculty as opposed to the mandatory masking of students.