MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – The latest school district data shows a total of 930 coronavirus cases since the start of school in August. Manatee County district officials tell 8 On Your Side transmission rates on campus remain low, however people are still showing up to school sick or with symptoms.

A message went out to parents district-wide Sunday night, serving as a reminder to stay vigilant with about six weeks left in the school year.

Parents, while the rate of COVID-19 transmission inside our schools is low, we are still seeing a significant number of students come onto our campuses with COVID or COVID-related symptoms.
Please help us by making sure you don’t send your child or children to school if they are sick, or if they are showing COVID symptoms – such as cough; shortness of breath of difficulty of breathing; fever; chills; muscle pain; headache; sore throat; or new loss of taste or smell.
If your child has any of these symptoms, keep them home until their symptoms are gone and they are cleared by their school to return to campus. Also, if your child or someone in your immediate household is waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test, please don’t send them to school until they receive negative PCR test results and are cleared to return to campus.
Thank you for your help with these efforts.

Manatee County School District

“The district has done such a great job of keeping us informed and letting us know, don’t bring your kids and when they are sick,” said parent Crystal Rothhaar. “It is a little concerning when they have to keep sending these emails because that means that there are people who are sending their children to school that are sick and that is a little scary.”

Mike Barber, Director of Communications for the School District of Manatee County, says these messages are nothing new.

“We sent out one Sunday evening, but we have been sending these messages out on a regular basis since before Thanksgiving,” said Barber. He says the surge in cases seem to come following holiday breaks or long weekends.

Lakewood Ranch High School saw the largest surge in the district after spring break.

The school has had 42 cases since January. 29 of those cases happened in the three weeks following spring break, sending 236 people into quarantine.

“We do have a significant number of parents who do make those decisions and call us and tell us that their children are sick with COVID, but they haven’t been on our campuses. The numbers would be even greater if we weren’t giving these messages and if parents weren’t adhering to the messages and keeping children who are sick at home,” said Barber. “I will say it does get old because you feel like you’re being so repetitive that you are annoying people but, we feel like we have to do it or otherwise, then we see these surges like we did after spring break.”

District officials say they’re thankful schools across the county have managed to remain open throughout the school year. Manatee County was the first school district in the Tampa Bay area to reopen in August last year.

“Not one of our schools has had to be closed for a single day,” said Barber. “When we were going into the beginning of the school year, that would have been hard for us to imagine because going into the school year back last August, it was the first time we returned to on campus learning since March of last year.”