The Ohio Department of Health reported Thursday that there have been 234 cases of coronavirus in schools this academic year in Montgomery, Warren, Greene and Miami counties. That figure (172 student cases and 62 staff cases) is likely smaller than the actual number of confirmed cases.
The data lags and case number could already be much larger. John Steele, spokesman for Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County explained that their office, for example, reported Montgomery County’s numbers to the state on Tuesday.
On the ODH website, 26 cases are reported in Lebanon City Schools. But the Lebanon Board of Education in a meeting Wednesday evening reported that 49 students have tested positive. For context, during Lebanon’s worst week last school year, it had 33 positive cases.
Among the other districts with the largest outbreaks reported on ODH’s website are Mason (28 cases), Centerville (24 cases), Northmont (23 cases), Kettering (18 cases) and Dayton (16 cases).
It’s hard to tell how many hundreds or thousands of area students and staff are quarantining due to exposure to these cases. In Lebanon alone, over 500 kids, about 10% of the district’s student population, have been identified as being in close contact with a case and are quarantining at home.
Shannon Cox, superintendent of the Montgomery County Educational Service Center, said she doesn’t have a sense of how many students and staff are quarantining due to exposure to these cases.
“I don’t know and the reason I don’t is because there is such a complicated investigation process that has to go through,” Cox said. “If a kid is testing positive, they literally have to keep track of who’s been with them within a certain distance, you have to go through was that person masked? Was that person vaccinated? You have to get hold of a parent to ask has your kid been vaccinated because we don’t have record of that. That sometimes even takes 12 hours … So that number is really changing pretty quickly.”
According to the Ohio Department of Health and other public health agencies, schools that are following the same stringent protocols from last academic year, including universal masking and maximizing physical distancing, do not have to send students and staff exposed to a positive coronavirus case in the classroom home to quarantine. But if a student or staff member is not wearing a mask and not vaccinated when they are exposed, they should quarantine.
Many of the districts with the largest outbreaks began this school year without requiring face masks for all students. Some districts like Northmont, Kettering and Centerville have announced mandates in the last week with their leadership citing cases and quarantines as driving factors.
Some schools, including Lebanon, aren’t requiring masks. The district called an emergency meeting on Wednesday night to discuss masks. Upset parents packed the room to decry the health department’s quarantine rules and speak against the school implementing mask mandate. The board made no decision Wednesday.
According to the Ohio Department of Health’s latest data, here are the area schools with at least one coronavirus case:
|School||Student coronavirus cases this school year||Staff coronavirus cases this school year|
|Bethlehem Lutheran School||1||5|
|Cedar Cliff Local||0||2|
|Greene County ESC||0||1|
|Greene County Vocational School District||1||1|
|Kettering City School District||16||2|
|Legacy Christian Academy||11||2|
|Miami Valley Career Tech||3||0|
|Montgomery County ESC||0||1|
|Mother Maria Anna Brunner Catholic||1||0|
|Our Lady Of Rosary||0||1|
|Springboro Community City||3||0|
|Tipp City Exempted Village||0||2|
|Xenia Community City||6||6|
|Yellow Springs Exempted Village||0||1|
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