When COVID-19 went away from a lot of schools in the Tampa Bay area, it made a comeback.

This week, 308 people in Pinellas, Hernando, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties were sick. That’s a lot less than the schools saw in August and September, the time when the delta variant caused weekly counts to rise to thousands of people.

If you look at the average number of people who came in each week for the last eight weeks, that was only 160.

The number of covid cases, especially in Hillsborough, rose by 199 for the week. This has struck when schools have less power to stop the spread of the virus. State law no longer allows the public schools to make students wear face coverings, but they can still choose to do so. Even if students are healthy, they can’t be made to stay in quarantine by schools.

Tracye Brown, COVID-19 point person at the height of the pandemic and Hillsborough’s chief of federal programs, said this week that schools now have very little power if the virus spreads even more.

“We are keeping a close watch on the situation,” she said. “We are encouraging people to maintain their good hand-washing habits and social distance, when possible.”

Brown wants families to keep COVID-19 safety in mind as they spend time together over the winter. Last year, the start of school in January caused a lot of people to get sick.

A lot of people are also being told to get their kids vaccinated. The district held 2 vaccine camps in East Hillsborough on December 11.

It was Williams Middle, a school in East Tampa, that had the most problems this week. There were 39 cases this year, which means there have been 121 so far this year. There were 58 of them in December.

Next, we have Rampello K-8, which is a school in downtown Tampa. This week, 22 people went there.

Eleven people went to high school in Hillsborough. Seven went to high school in the East Bay.

Covid Cases in Hernando totaled 12, which is more than the five or seven that were there in the past.

At Seven Springs Middle School, there were seven cases, and there were six at Oakstead Elementary. There were 55 cases in Pasco County.

A small number of people died in Pinellas County because of the size the school district had, which has about 100,000 students. Most cases were reported in Dunedin High School that counted to be four.

A newspaper in the Tampa Bay area has found 27,006 reported cases of COVID-19 in the area’s four public school systems since August 10. During the 2020-21 school year, there were less than 18,000 cases.