COVID-19 Cases Rising in Hillsborough Schools

As students finally get back into the classroom after winter break, COVID-19 cases are starting to surge again.


Photo Cecilia Cheng

A graphic made on Canva showing two men social distancing, a man washing his hands and a sign with a boy with and without a mask.

Cecilia Cheng, A&E Editor

With the new Omicron variant, COVID-19 cases in Hillsborough County Public Schools have been significantly increasing over the last few weeks. During Jan. 10 through Jan. 14, there were a total of 4,338 reported positive cases in the district, with 39 at Robinson alone.

HCPS superintendent, Addison Davis, is encouraging all students to wear masks indoors. HVAC systems are also being built into many schools around our district to get airflow moving. The CDC recommends everyone to wash their hands and social distance as frequently as possible and to also get vaccinated if they can. If one shows any COVID- 19 symptoms, like fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc., it is recommended that they stay home and get tested.

Students that do test positive are required to stay home until “they receive a negative diagnostic COVID-19 test and is asymptomatic,” or isolate for 10 days and test negative or to have received a doctor’s note saying that you are safe to return to school according to HCPS protocols. If you come into close contact with an individual that tests positive, you are not required to quarantine providing that you are vaccinated (two shots) and show no symptoms. 

Although we are given the option to wear one, HCPS also cannot mandate students to wear masks, with Florida House Bill 1B in place. They also can’t require employees to get vaccinated.

On top of that, even though many school districts have started to transition back to virtual learning, it doesn’t look like Hillsborough schools will anytime soon.

“Schools will have a number of online learning resources available through Canvas for students who have to stay home, but that the district does not currently have the funding to go entirely virtual,” Davis said. “There is no longer an emergency order in place to allow us to receive funding for that. So, while it would have been nice to take four or five days from the holiday to go all virtually as a school district, which now we know we are capable to do, we just don’t have the luxury.”