2 school districts change plans after Greene County moves to ‘red’ level

Beavercreek High School students work in a science class Oct. 8. The district will switch on Oct. 19 to a hybrid plan where students are divided into two groups, with each student attending school in-person only two days per week.

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State’s weekly dashboard of school-related COVID-19 cases appears to have data issues

Beavercreek and Cedar Cliff schools, the largest and smallest public school districts in Greene County, will change their in-person models starting next week, after the state’s public health advisory system Thursday moved Greene County to the more serious “red” level.

Starting Monday, Beavercreek schools will switch from five days a week in-person to a hybrid model where students are divided into two groups. Each child will attend school two days a week and do online work the other days. Those Beavercreek students who were attending fully online will continue to do so.

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Cedar Cliff students will also be divided into two groups — a morning group and an afternoon group — with students still attending school five days per week, but for a half day.

When schools have only half as many students in a school building, it is easier to do social distancing, which health officials say is one of the keys to avoiding coronavirus spread.

In each of the past two days, Ohio has broken its previous record for the number of COVID-19 cases reported in a single day. Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday that hospitalizations are also rising.

In the state system, Level 2 (orange) means increased exposure and spread, and calls for a high level of caution. Level 3 (red) means “very high” exposure and spread, and says to “limit activities as much as possible.”

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Beavercreek Superintendent Paul Otten said families should plan to operate on the school’s new hybrid model until notified otherwise. He said it will last a minimum of two weeks, but could go longer if Greene County stays at the red level.

“It’s unfortunate. Our kids and staff have done an outstanding job,” Otten said. “We’ve had very low incidence rates in our school district, but we also don’t want to be a contributing factor to our community.”

The state COVID school dashboard shows Beavercreek with 10 student cases and three staff cases between Sept. 7 and Oct. 11, in a district of more than 7,500 students.

“Tomorrow will be end of Week 8 of us in-person, and we’re very proud of that,” Otten said. “Last week we had no cases to report, and this week I think we have a coach and that might be it. Our kids have done very well and our staff has done great. So it’s kind of a punch in the gut, but better safe than sorry.”

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Beavercreek students with last names A-K will attend in-person Monday and Wednesday, while students with last names L-Z will attend Tuesday and Thursday. Remote learning will be done through the Google Classroom platform. All extracurricular activities will continue as scheduled unless the district notifies those families.

Cedar Cliff Superintendent Chad Mason said each student has been assigned to either a morning or afternoon schedule. The district was already going to be closed this Friday and Monday for its scheduled fall break, so the new schedule will take effect Tuesday.

“We will re-evaluate each week,” Mason said. “We have not had an increase in cases so we will monitor the situation and may return in spite of (the county level), depending on what we see here locally.”

School COVID data problems

The Ohio Department of Health released its COVID school dashboard as usual Thursday, but again, there were questions about the accuracy of the data.

Last week, Miamisburg was listed with a cumulative six student cases and six staff cases since reporting began Sept. 7. In the new data Thursday, Miamisburg is listed with one cumulative student case (a new one) and one cumulative staff case.

Last week, Franklin was listed with seven cumulative student cases and three cumulative staff cases. This week, the dashboard lists them with three new student cases and one new staff case, but the cumulative numbers didn’t change, staying at seven and three.

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The new dashboard also lists Fairborn with 10 “new” student cases, but only nine “cumulative” student cases, which is not mathematically possible. Greenon and Northeastern schools in Clark County were also listed with more student cases last week than in the cumulative five-week reporting period.

Ohio Department of Health officials said late Thursday afternoon that they were looking into the discrepancies.

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