Update on Virginia K-12 School Outbreaks

by Carol J. Bova

As the COVID-19 epidemic regains momentum this fall, the virus has crept into a few public schools in Virginia. Seven of ten outbreaks in progress are in the Southwest Region where there is significant current and rising community spread. The other three in the Central and Eastern regions where several September school outbreaks have now ended.

The  Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Outbreaks report shows 43 outbreaks in public K-12 schools, with 227 cases, as of Nov. 6. 

The K-12 School Dashboard lists 35 as of October 30th, with October 23 as the most recent date VDH was notified. The total case number for those 35 isn’t known because cases in the two-to-four range are suppressed, showing an asterisk instead. Unfortunately, suppressing those small numbers makes it impossible to see exactly how many cases are involved with the eight new outbreaks and how the number might have increased or decreased since the previous report.

For what the data is worth, here is the list of schools with outbreaks in today’s report, as of October 30th, showing whether they are “in progress,” “closed,” or “pending closure” in the official system.

Carol J. Bova is a writer living in Mathews County.

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11 responses to “Update on Virginia K-12 School Outbreaks

  1. I suppose one *could* tie closure and suspension of in-person instruction to some percentage of ICU beds in the district. Ya know, if the combined hospital’s (assuming more than one) ICUs reaches 75% capacity, then close the schools in that area.

  2. I took a look at the VDH Covid dashboard after reading this, and downloaded the graphs from it.

    Everybody is excited about the growing number of cases, but the hospitalization and death rates are tracking way below the number of cases. They all peaked in early or mid-May, and then started back up in mid-June or early July. While the peak number of cases in July, September, and November is close to or slightly above the mid-May peak, the hospitalizations and deaths are only slightly more than half of the first peak. Are more cases being found because of more testing, or are the effects of Covid not as severe as they were in the first wave, or have more effective ways of treating Covid without hospitalization been developed?

    I stretched the graphs to equalize the vertical scale, then superimposed them and traced the 7-day average in different colors. Using the numbers from the dashboard – 190,873 cases, 13,022 hospitalizations, and 3704, a person in Virginia with a confirmed case of Covid has a 6.8% chance of being hospitalized and a 1.9% chance of dying. As we have seen several times, older people with other medical conditions have a much higher death rate than younger and healthier people.

    Just some interesting food for thought. Covid is serious, but the sky isn’t falling as TV newscasters say.

    Is there a way for me to post these graphs? I tried copying & pasting into my text, but nothing happened.

      • Yes, quite likely as a practical matter most of this stuff is likely bull shit used a click bat by an obviously corrupt media, political, and professional class, now finished with their political polls scams and so looking for more dishonest and distorted statistics to scare people, by misrepresenting key facts on what is actually happening in our real world.

  3. Carol or Jim might post them for you or you can put them in a cloud directory and share public but it will only show up as a link not graphs.

    I agree, they have learned how to better treat Covid but the danger is more widespread community spread – that’s always been the danger.

    Right now in the Fredericksburg area, the positivity rate is going up and we are starting to see it in schools. If it expands further – it’s not going to be good, for instance, it would start to get into grocery stores or doctors offices, etc…

    This is what the public health professionals are telling us. I don’t see any reason to disbelieve them.

  4. Right now in the Fredericksburg area, the positivity rate is going up and we are starting to see it in schools.
    It’s a wonder how you manage to take any fact and distort it to your point of view.

    Late last night, (Nov.7), Fredericksburg.com posted a story that said the F’bg schools had a new COVID dashboard. “Data goes back to Aug. 3 and shows a total of five positive cases among staff members and 14 staff members quarantined through the week of Oct. 26….In that time frame, there have been no positive cases in students and no students quarantined.”
    That’s 19 of 4200 staff and students, and no children among the five actual cases. In addition, “The majority of city students do not yet have the option to return to school in person.”

    This post is discussing in-person schools.
    Community spread is not “the danger.” It’s a fact of life in a pandemic.

  5. If you read the FLS, then you must have seen this also:

    Rappahannock Area Health District reports 41 new cases Friday

    he Rappahannock Area Health District reported 41 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday for an overall total of 6,512 cases.

    That included 2,583 cases in Spotsylvania County; 2,552 in Stafford County; 612 in Fredericksburg; 467 in Caroline County; and 298 in King George County.

    The health district’s positivity rate, which counts the number of positive test results among all those taken, continues to climb. Its seven-day average was 6.6 percent on Friday, higher than the state rate of 5.9 percent for the same timeframe.

    Also as of Friday’s report, there were 25 people being treated for virus symptoms at the area’s three hospitals.

    Elsewhere in the region, there have been 1,479 cases in Culpeper County; 1,146 in Fauquier County; 451 in Orange County; and 365 in Westmoreland County.

    Virginia reported 1,568 new cases for a cumulative total of 188,770 cases and 3,682 deaths associated with COVID-19.”

    Do you think if there is community spread that it does not affect schools and teachers?

    How many schools in the Fredericksburg Area have dashboards?

    Did you say that only one so far is doing that and that the two adjacent counties have far larger school systems?

    Is that distorting?

    We don’t agree but you are wrong to do what you are doing. Shame on you. I don’t know why you folks can’t be honest about issues.

    We have increased community spread in our area and that does include people who staff the schools.

    The fact is that as far as I know, neither Spotsylvania nor Stafford – which are far larger school systems have deployed such dashboards yet.

    That would be fair and objective to report, right?

  6. Larry, I responded to your distortion of fact regarding the virus in Fredericksburg schools, and showed that no children were involved. I was not discussing other schools or their website reporting.

    My article is about the VDH dashboard on all K-12 schools in Virginia, and their delay in updating numbers to match their Outbreaks tab. Both sets of data include staff as well as students, but eight schools on the Outbreaks tab are not yet on the K-12 Dashboard. Fredericksburg might be one of those if it meets the VDH criteria that: “Transmission occurs within the school facility or at a school-sponsored event among students, faculty, staff, or visitors to be classified as a school-associated outbreak.”

    I called you on trying to make community spread something more than it is–a reflection of the pandemic in our midst. The total counts in various communities has nothing to do with my article on K-12.

    The shame is in your continued behavior of trying to discredit articles and authors on this blog with your opinions and unrelated facts.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t community spread a criteria used in determining schools opening?

      ” It is critical for schools to open as safely and as quickly as possible for in-person learning. To enable schools to open and remain open, it is important to adopt and correctly and consistently implement actions to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, not only inside the school, but also in the community. This means that students, families, teachers, school staff, and all community members should take actions to protect themselves and others where they live, work, learn, and play. In short, success in preventing the introduction and subsequent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in schools is connected to and dependent upon preventing transmission in communities.”


      “The school reopening phases are aligned with the existing Forward Virginia phases, through which the state will progress by monitoring public health data and key measures on disease transmission, healthcare capacity, testing capacity, public health capacity to trace contacts of cases, and other relevant factors. Community mitigation strategies (e.g. physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, etc.) will be necessary across all phases to decrease the spread of COVID-19. These recommendations should be implemented in accordance with the Forward Virginia BlueprintThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website (PDF), any existing Executive Orders, CDC Interim Guidance for Schools and Daycamps, CDC Considerations for Schools, and in partnership with local and state public health officials.

      Virginia’s guidance, which is aligned with the interim CDC guidance for schools, serves as a recommendation for Virginia schools to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19. Divisions should make decisions on implementing such guidance, and assuming additional risk, in consultation with local health departments and school board attorneys. Public health conditions and practical limitations may inform decisions to deviate from the guidance.”


      Is that a distortion?

      Methinks there is distortion here but not me.

      shame on you again.

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