One week after classes were back in session, a Tampa school district has 5,599 students isolating in quarantine. The students and 316 staff members have all either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, according to school officials.

Administrators within Hillsborough County Public Schools have now called an emergency meeting to discuss COVID-19 mitigation measures, including face coverings for all students and staff. The meeting will take place Wednesday afternoon.


"Isolation refers to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 while quarantine refers to those who have had close contact with a positive case," the school statement said, per NBC News.

5,600 kids, hundreds of employees quarantined in one Florida school district www.youtube.com

Over 200,000 students are served under the school district, which is comprised of more than 200 elementary, middle, and high schools. "We must continue safety practices community wide as we work to combat this virus," HCPS Superintendent Addison Davis said on Saturday. According to CNN, Hillsborough County Public Schools required face coverings for the start of the year, but parents were able to opt their children out of the mask requirement. As of last week, the district received nearly 30,000 opt-out submissions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend indoor masking for schools as one of the best mitigation measures to take to ensure protection for students and the least amount of disruption possible for the school year: "Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status." Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' office has said the state could potentially withhold salaries of administrators who impose mask mandates in schools because he believes parents should decide whether their children wear masks. Just this month, Florida broke its daily record for confirmed COVID-19 cases.