PASCO COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – Pasco County schools superintendent Kurt Browning gave an update on the district’s response to the pandemic Monday, and said that schools and the community were seeing “worrisome increases in COVID-19 cases.”

Browning said the district had been reviewing the number of cases and trends and that schools were “headed into a challenging time that could force us to make some difficult decisions.”

So far this school year, the district has reported 323 cases among students and 131 among employees, which have impacted more than 6,000 students and more than 500 employees.

“If the infection rate locally continues on an upward trend and if we continue to see an increase in cases in our schools we will have to seriously consider curtailing or eliminating such activities to protect the health and safety of our students and staff,” Browning said.

Browning believes the cases are coming from outside of school and could have been avoided. He is stressing the importance of remaining vigilant, especially as the holidays are approaching.