COVID cases tied to schools rise, following state pattern

School office staff in Centerville High School's south unit answer calls earlier this fall. Centerville City Schools reported four new COVID-19 cases to the state dashboard Oct. 12-18. Some cases don't show up in the reporting if students or staff are working fully remote.

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School office staff in Centerville High School's south unit answer calls earlier this fall. Centerville City Schools reported four new COVID-19 cases to the state dashboard Oct. 12-18. Some cases don't show up in the reporting if students or staff are working fully remote.

COVID-19 cases involving K-12 students and school staff rose noticeably in Thursday’s Ohio Department of Health data release, following the same trend that’s hitting the state as a whole.

The ODH dashboard showed Ohio schools reported 1,020 new cases last week — 613 involving students and 407 involving school staff. In the six weeks of school data collection since a state health order took effect Sept. 7, the cumulative total is 3,826 cases.

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That means last week (Oct. 12-18) accounted for 26.7% of all school cases reported so far, an outsized chunk for a seven-day period.

Local data followed the same pattern. In the greater Dayton area, schools reported 115 new COVID-19 cases last week (55 students and 60 staff), according to the ODH dashboard. With the local cumulative total at 418 school cases, last week accounted for 27.5% of the total.

Gov. Mike DeWine has repeatedly said students and schools are doing a good job of following health guidelines while they’re in session. He said the spread is happening in other ways in Ohio communities. Ohio’s seven-day average for positive test rate hit 5.0% Thursday. That’s lower than many other states, but the highest Ohio has been since mid-August.

“We can turn this around,” DeWine said. “COVID-19 is multiplying very quickly and it will continue unless we do something different. More of us need to wear masks, and more of us need to be careful. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.”

Local schools data

Thursday’s dashboard appeared to fix most of the data errors from last week’s release, but the numbers themselves weren’t great.

The local schools with the most new COVID-19 cases reported Oct. 12-18 included Fairborn (11) and Troy (7), which have had higher case numbers from the beginning, but also Lebanon (9) and Centerville (6), which had fairly few cases in the dashboard to this point.

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Montgomery County had relatively few school cases reported in the first few weeks of the dashboard, as many of its schools held classes fully online. But teachers and other staff have been returning in some schools as they prepare to reopen, and that was reflected in the data released Thursday.

Centerville, West Carrollton, Huber Heights and Dayton each reported four new staff COVID cases last week. Dayton Public Schools has reported 11 total staff cases since Sept. 7, the second-highest number for school employees locally, behind Fairborn’s 19.

Dayton’s school board approved the purchase of $160,000 in plexiglass dividers Tuesday night, and the district received 30,000 N-95 masks from FEMA at no cost. Most students who are returning in-person will come back Nov. 9.

“We’ve been trying to answer the questions that come at us every day, but I must say that no one has all the answers right now,” DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said. “It’s a no-win situation in this COVID environment. We’re doing the best we can to serve our students to make sure everyone stays safe, and I just need to thank everyone for their grace.”

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The Dayton-area schools that have reported the most combined student and staff cases since state tracking began Sept. 7 are Fairborn (39), Springboro (28), Troy (24) and Miamisburg (20).

A statewide order issued in early September says schools have to contact their county health department within 24 hours of being notified of a COVID-19 case in a student or school employee. County health departments then report that data to ODH, which releases updated statistics each Thursday.

Many schools are reporting their numbers of COVID cases on their websites. Those numbers don’t always match the state data for two primary reasons — school websites might be reporting cases from a different time window, and some schools include cases of fully remote students and staff, while the state dashboard does not included those cases.


COVID-19 CASES TIED TO LOCAL SCHOOLS

For each school or district, the “new” number is the combined student and staff COVID-19 cases reported for Oct. 12-18, while the total includes all cases since formal reporting began Sept. 7.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY (41 new cases, 138 total)

Centerville — 6 new, 9 total

MVCTC — 5 new, 12 total

Miamisburg — 4 new, 20 total

Dayton — 4 new, 11 total

West Carrollton — 4 new, 10 total

Spring Valley Acad. — 4 new, 8 total

Huber Heights — 4 new, 5 total

Vandalia-Butler — 3 new, 11 total

Bishop Leibold — 1 new, 5 total

Mad River — 1 new, 5 total

Oakwood — 1 new, 4 total

Brookville — 1 new, 4 total

Northmont — 1 new, 3 total

East Dayton Christian — 1 new, 2 total

Gloria Dei Montessori — 1 new, 1 total

Kettering — 0 new, 5 total

Alter — 0 new, 5 total

Carroll — 0 new, 5 total

New Lebanon — 0 new, 4 total

St. Charles — 0 new, 2 total

Liberty HS — 0 new, 1 total

St. Helen — 0 new, 1 total

Valley View — 0 new, 1 total

Ascension — 0 new, 1 total

Chaminade Julienne — 0 new, 1 total

DECA — 0 new, 1 total

Miami Valley Acad. — 0 new, 1 total

Jefferson, Trotwood and Northridge — no cases listed

MIAMI COUNTY (23 new cases, 104 total)

Troy — 7 new, 24 total

Milton-Union — 3 new, 5 total

Tipp City — 2 new, 12 total

Bethel — 2 new, 6 total

Bradford — 2 new, 3 total

Miami Co. ESC — 2 new, 3 total

Piqua — 1 new, 17 total

Covington — 1 new, 9 total

Upper Valley CC — 1 new, 4 total

Newton — 1 new, 3 total

Piqua Catholic — 1 new, 3 total

Troy Christian — 0 new, 5 total

Miami East — 0 new, 4 total

St. Patrick — 0 new, 4 total

Nicholas — 0 new, 2 total

GREENE COUNTY (20 new cases, 74 total)

Fairborn — 11 new, 39 total

Greene Co. JVS — 3 new, 5 total

Bellbrook — 2 new, 7 total

Beavercreek — 1 new, 14 total

Xenia — 1 new, 3 total

Yellow Springs — 1 new, 1 total

Bethlehem Lutheran — 1 new, 1 total

Greeneview — 0 new, 3 total

St. Luke — 0 new, 1 total

Cedar Cliff — no cases listed

NORTHERN WARREN COUNTY (16 new cases, 73 total)

Lebanon — 9 new, 11 total

Springboro — 3 new, 28 total

Fenwick — 2 new, 8 total

Franklin — 1 new, 12 total

Waynesville — 1 new, 2 total

Carlisle — 0 new, 6 total

Warren Co. JVS — 0 new, 5 total

CHESS Christian — 0 new, 1 total

PREBLE COUNTY (12 new cases, 27 total)

Eaton — 4 new, 6 total

Preble Co. ESC — 4 new, 4 total

National Trail — 3 new, 10 total

Twin Valley — 1 new, 1 total

Tri-County N. — 0 new, 4 total

Preble Shawnee — 0 new, 2 total

SOUTHWEST CLARK COUNTY (5 new cases, 5 total)

Greenon — 3 new, 3 total

Tecumseh — 2 new, 2 total

Source: Ohio Department of Health

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