Limited Audit of DOH data compared to data provided by districts for the overlapping time period

Article by the Wolf

This report was written in Microsoft Word and is most easily read by the pdf attached here. Some of the tables may be difficult to see on mobile devices if not using the pdf document.

To download a PDF version of this report, click here.

Limited Audit of DOH data compared to data provided by districts for the overlapping time period (Sept. 6 – Sept. 26 only).

October 1, 2020

Rebekah Jones, The COVID Monitor, Florida COVID Action

This report was written as part of a data quality review for recently released data by the Florida Department of Health, in conjunction with both The COVID Monitor and For questions about this report, please email:

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) report referred to in this audit was released Sept. 29, 2020, and listed a number of student, staff, and “unknown” cases for each school in the state which had positive results reported between September 6, 2020 and September 26, 2020.

This audit provides an overview of major discrepancies, with detailed looks at two Florida counties that have been publishing their own district data independently of DOH: Collier and Duval. As we continue to work through the data, we will update this information with new counties.

Layout notes:

To reduce confusion about whether we’re referring to data provided by counties/school districts, or data provided about counties from the Sept. 29 Department of Health (DOH) state data, we’re going to color code our text for extra emphasis.

Data provided by school districts (counties) will be green.
Data provided by the state/DOH will be purple.

We realize this may make it difficult for those who have color vision deficiency to distinguish between the two, so we will make every effort to refer to data provided directly by the school districts in each county as either the “district/county,” and refer to the data coming from the DOH report as either “the state/DOH.”

We will provide a version without color coding, as well.

Data Sourcing

Metadata for school and district data came from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Current enrollment for in-person instruction, hybrid instruction, and virtual instruction for the 2020-2021 school year came from the individual districts shown here. Data about graduation rates, economic status, and school “report cards” come from the Florida Department of Education and are based on the 2019-2020 academic year. Updated enrollment data should be released by November 1 for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Overview of Findings

  1. Inconsistencies across the state and district data are extreme
    1. Reports that overlap make up only half of the cases reported (see Duval County analysis)
    1. DOH reported 71 fewer cases overall than the combined total from the 28 districts self-reporting that are reviewed in this audit
    1. Though data from 12 of the 28 districts reviewed were within 5 cases of the DOH data (either reporting within five more or five fewer cases than the state), there were extreme outliers (see Table 1)
  2. The DOH report from Sept. 29 and data from counties that self-report show the same percent of student cases as a share of all cases
    1. DOH reports students as 73% of cases
    1. Counties report students as 73% of cases
  3. While the rate of symptomatic cases is high (79% across all students and staff) it is much lower than recent CDC findings for pediatric cases[1]
    1. This is a difficult number to parse given the format of DOH’s report, which combined symptomatic data for all students, staff and other.
  4. According to analysis of DOH data of cases, teachers are slightly less likely to be symptomatic than students
    1. In schools reporting no teacher cases, symptomatic cases make up 81%
    1. In all schools, the symptomatic rate is 79%
  5. Cases reported by DOH as “unknown” are most likely to be staff

Further research needed

Without more information from the Department of Health about how the Sept. 29 report was made, which criteria they used, separate dates for case and notification dates, and other basic questions, the DOH report conflicts too much with existing data provided independently by districts to be an authoritative resource for cases in Florida K-12 schools.

Additionally, not all of the 37 districts self-reporting do so transparency or consistently.  

Bay, Charlotte, Lee, and Polk do not specify student or staff in their data.

Hendry’s site is essentially useless, with no data definitions or explanations, no cumulative counts, and no information about the school’s impacted.

Lee and Polk list notifications sent out about cases, but Lee does not specify the cases reported in each notification, and neither lists the number of student vs staff cases.

Indian River and Calhoun report via press release, but Calhoun’s site hasn’t been updated since September 3.

Bay*232324171671%DOH +19
Brevard11287250976820987%County +15
Citrus4127140382321367%County +3
Clay503317044339294%County +6
Collier584315048391864%County +10
Duval10066340936817880%County +7
Flagler26215021141657%County +5
Hardee*695613025211352%County +44
Hendry11640731386%County +4
Hillsborough211152590198158192180%County +13
Lake3423110412811294%DOH +7
Lee4747664491384%DOH +19
Leon6343200402621287%County +23
Manatee332112046355682%DOH +13
Nassau21165025203272%DOH +4
Orange146115310171124103780%DOH +25
Osceola6041190573761475%County +3
Pasco1177839012182152482%DOH +4
Pinellas78552301108951683%DOH +32
Polk10710710375181072%County +4
St. Johns10083170695251268%County +31
Taylor1717005500100%County +12
Volusia4529160493061379%DOH +4

Notes: Bay county only includes data from 9/15 on, so only the last reporting week for DOH’s data was used. Hardee’s cumulative data does not match its daily case updates, so calculated figures based on daily updates are provided here.

Review: Collier County

Collier is a mid-sized county in Florida in terms of enrollment and the total number of schools. Its mix of urban, suburban and rural schools contrasts well for the purposes of this study, and they have provided detailed data about cases in their school since reopening August 31.

The most recent data from the NCES shows 3,200 teachers for the district’s 48,000 students in 61 schools, consistent with information Collier County provides. That ranks collier 17 of Florida’s 67 districts in terms of total enrollment, and 18 out of 67 for the number of teachers per student (each sorted high to low). The district received an A grade for the 2019-2020 school year by the state, with a 91.9% graduation rate. State data shows that 62% of Collier students are considered economically disadvantaged.

While Collier’s data interface is cumbersome for retrieving data for research purposes, it allows the public to search by school and by date range, returning a value for both students and staff by the date each positive case was reported. Collier county updates their dashboard Monday-Friday by 7:00 pm ET, according to their site.

Collier county schools began in-person and online instruction on August 31, and reported 43 student cases and 15 staff cases in the time period covered by DOH’s report.

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) report showed3 9 student cases, 1 staff case, and 8 “unknown” cases.

Of the 26 schools DOH listed as having positive cases, only 10 matched the data provided by Collier County. Five schools Collier reported cases in were not listed in the DOH spreadsheet (below). Those five missing schools Collier reported made up nine cases in the district – 14% of all the cases the district had self-reported.

Schools that Collier County listed as having cases, but DOH did not include in their report:

Missing Schools:TotalStudentStaff 
Alternative – Naples303
Alternative – Immokalee110
Vineyards Elementary101
Lake Park Elementary220
Calusa Park Elementary220

Schools where the state data matched the data reported by Collier County schools:

Cypress Palm Middle School
Golden Gate High School
Laurel Oak Elementary School
North Naples Middle School
Oakridge Middle School
Palmetto Ridge High School
Veterans Memorial Elementary School
Golden Gate Elementary School
Lake Trafford Elementary School
Sea Gate Elementary School
Schools Where The State Reported More Cases Than The Collier County School District School School not in data provided by county Marco Island Charter Middle (Marco Island) School not in data provided by county The Village School (Naples) 1 more student case than county East Naples Middle School (Naples) 1 more student case than county Gulf Coast High School (Naples) 1 more student case than county Naples High School (Naples) 1 more student case than county Poinciana Elementary School (Naples) 2 more student cases than county Osceola Elementary School (Naples) MIKE DAVIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Schools where county reported more cases than stateSchool
Missing 1 staff case reported by countyImmokalee High School (Immokalee)
Missing 1 staff case reported by county; 2 more student cases than reported by countyCorkscrew Elementary School (Naples)
Missing 1 staff case reported by counyVinyards Elementary
Missing 1 student case reported by countyBarron Collier High School (Naples)
Missing 1 student case reported by countyEden Park Elementary School (Immokalee)
Missing 1 student case reported by countyImmokalee Middle School (Immokalee)
Missing 1 student case reported by countyLely Elementary School (Naples)
Missing 1 student case reported by countyPine Ridge Middle School (Naples)
Missing 1 student case reported by countyAlternative – Immokalee
Missing 1 student case reported by countyImmokalee Techincal College
Missing 2 student cases reported by countyLake Park Elementary
Missing 2 student cases reported by countyCalusa Park Elementary
Missing 3 staff cases reported by countyHighlands Elementary School (Immokalee)
Missing 3 staff cases reported by countyAlternative – Naples

Review: Duval County

Enrollment in Duval County Schools for 2020-2021 was 130,000  with 12,603 staff members, according to state data. They opened on August 20 to a hybrid format 11 days earlier than Collier County opened. The district received an B grade for the 2019-2020 school year by the state, with a graduation rate of 86.5%. Two-thirds of the students enrolled are considered economically disadvantaged.

Duval county attempted to start reporting cases in its schools in August, but was told by the state that it did not have permission to do so. After weeks of waiting on the state, Duval went ahead and published their data anyway, going back to the first day of school on August 20.

Some important data about how Duval county schools reports its COVID-19 case counts, from the school district’s website:

“The dashboard shows the number of students and staff attending or working in brick-and-mortar schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Sept. 28 clarification: The dashboard only reports Duval County Public School employee or student cases impacting school operations. The total number of employees or students diagnosed with COVID-19 may be higher.

The date of the case is the date on which the district confirmed the results. The date may be different than the date of diagnosis or initial report.

Charter school data is not included here due to incompatibility of information systems. Charter schools may publish their own data on their school websites.

The dashboard is updated daily by approximately 10 p.m.”

Duval County reports for 165 schools, regardless of whether cases have been reported in those schools. Of those 165, only 56 reported cases from Sept. 6-26, according to the county. Those 56 schools reported a combined 66 student and 34 staff cases during that period.

The state DOH report showed 51 schools in Duval County as having reported cases from Sept. 6-26, with seven fewer cases overall compared to the county, making the difference minimal between the two.

What’s most worrisome is that the DOH/State report is missing 28 schools that are in the county’s data, and the county data is missing 22 schools that show up in the state data.

Only 28 of the schools reporting cases for Duval County appear in both the state/DOH AND the county/district data. Which means that while the case numbers are close, they’re for completely different schools in half the cases.

Of the 100 cases reported by Duval County from Sept. 6-26, 38 come from schools not even listed in the DOH data.

Of the 93 cases reported by DOH/the state from Sept. 6-26, 30 come from schools that Duval county schools never reported as having cases.

And while you might think the cases in schools that both the county and the state/DOH reported would be evenly spread out, they’re not. Most are minor differences – one or two cases missing from the other – but a handful are significant.

For San Pablo Elementary, Duval County reported two student and four staff cases, while the state reported seven student and one staff case.

Schools that appear in both the state/DOH data and the county/district data with student and staff cases totals for the period beginning Sept. 6 and ending Sept. 26:

Schools in both the county/district data and the DOH/state dataDistrict dataState/DOH data
Annie R Morgan Elementary1111
Atlantic Coast High2 1 
Baldwin Middle-High1 3 
Biscayne Elementary1 1 
Chets Creek Elementary2 2 
Darnell Cookman1 1 
Duncan U. Fletcher High4 31
First Coast High School2 1 
Frank H Peterson Academies3 2 
GRASP Academy2 1 
Greenland Pines Elem.2 1 
Highlands Elementary1323
Holiday Hill Elementary1 1 
Jean Ribault High School1 1 
Joseph Stilwell Middle School 515
Landmark Middle School3 3 
Mandarin High School111 
Merrill Road Elementary 312
Mt. Herman Exc Student Ctr 1 1
Robert E. Lee High School3 2 
Samuel W. Wolfson High School2 2 
San Pablo Elementary2471
Southside Estates Elementary1111
Spring Park Elementary12 1
Thomas Jefferson Elementary1 1 
Westview K-82 2 
William M. Raines High School 11 
Windy Hill Elementary1 3 
Young Womens Leadership Academy (YWLA)/Young Mens Leadership Academy (YMLA) at Eugene Butler 2 1
Schools in the county/district data that do not appear in the DOH/state dataCase totals, Sept. 6-26
Abess Park Elementary11
Alimacani Elementary1
Andrew A. Robinson Elem.2 
Bartram Springs Elementary1 
Crown Point Elementary1 
Dinsmore Elementary1 
Enterprise Learning Acad.11
George W. Carver Elem.1 
Greenfield Elementary1 
Gregory Drive Elementary1
Highlands Middle School1 
J. Allen Axson Elementary1 
J.E.B. Stuart Middle School1 
Jacksonville Beach Elem.1 
Julia Landon Middle School5
Lake Lucina Elementary1 
New Berlin Elementary1 
Palm Ave. Exc. Student Ctr.1
Parkwood Heights Elementary1
Pine Estates Elementary1 
Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary2 
Southside Middle School11
Stanton College Prep.1 
Susie E. Tolbert Elementary.1
The Bridge to Success Academy at West Jacksonville2 
Twin Lakes Elementary1 
Whitehouse Elementary11

Schools in the DOH/state data that do not appear in the county/district dataCase totals, Sept. 6-26

(end of report)

[1] The CDC released a study showing that less than 3% of all pediatric cases from March 1 through Sept. 19 reported having no symptoms. Download the report here.

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