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State’s school COVID report at odds with local data

State data isn't matching what local governments are reporting
State data isn't matching what local governments are reporting(AP Images)
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 4:47 PM EDT
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Tallahassee, Fla. (WCJB) -The Florida Department of Health has finally released a comprehensive report tracking COVID cases in Florida schools and universities, but the state data doesn’t match up with statistics reported by school districts, muddying an already complicated situation.

The report shows between September 6th and September 26th there were more than 4,600 cases tied to schools and universities.

Governor Ron DeSantis said he wanted the information made public.

“Because the story is a good story to tell,” said DeSantis Tuesday.

But comparing the state’s data to statistics provided by local districts, there are clear irregularities.

Case numbers by schools differ between state and local data.

Some schools are missing entirely on the state report.

“There are less than 50 percent of our schools even on the report and their numbers are all out of whack,” said Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna.

Hanna didn’t mince words when we asked what he made of the report.

“It’s an embarrassment and they should be ashamed to be honest with you,” said Hanna.

And the state’s largest teachers union fears the discrepancies will hurt public trust.

“I think we can’t trust anyone and that’s the unfortunate situation we’re in right now,” said FEA President Andrew Spar.

The inconsistent data comes as parents are faced with a choice of either keeping their children in virtual learning for the next nine weeks or making the switch to in person learning.

The Florida PTA hopes to see more consistency in the reporting going forward.

“That way our caregivers can truly have all of the information possible and be able to make informed decisions around the continued health, as well as education of their children,” said Dr. Danielle Thomas with the Florida PTA.

Hanna told us there was no collaboration between his district and the Department of Health.

He called on the state to either fix its data or take the report down.

We reached out to the Governor’s Office and Florida Department of Health for comment on the mismatched data, but did not receive a response in time for this story.

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