Local school COVID case rates fairly steady in January

School COVID numbers didn’t fall like Ohio’s overall totals, but also didn’t rise as more students returned in-person

The number of COVID cases reported by Ohio schools has changed only slightly in the past two weeks, according to Ohio Department of Health data released Thursday.

Statewide, schools reported 3,242 new cases from Jan. 25-31, down slightly from 3,499 and 3,464 the previous two weeks.

In the Dayton area, schools reported 340 new COVID-19 cases last week, up slightly from 324 and 329 the previous two weeks, per the ODH data.

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Whether that’s good news or not depends on how you view the data. On the one hand, school-reported cases are not declining as rapidly as COVID cases in Ohio’s general population. On the other hand, in a January with thousands of students returning to in-person schools on the heels of the holiday season, numbers didn’t really go up either.

Tammy Drerup, Centerville schools director of student services, receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Centerville High School, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.
Tammy Drerup, Centerville schools director of student services, receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Centerville High School, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

While many students and educators are tired and frustrated with a nearly 11-month pandemic, school leaders are urging them to keep up their safety protocols. Shannon Cox, superintendent of the Montgomery County Educational Service Center, said thousands of local educators are taking a crucial step this week by getting their first dose of COVID vaccine.

“This is a good sign,” Cox said. “There are a lot of hiccups that will have to be overcome in the next 10 days (of vaccinations), but a lot of good is going to come with this.”

While the overall school COVID numbers are fairly steady, there continue to be isolated surges in virus spread. Cedar Cliff schools in Greene County had been in-person since September, but all of the district’s schools are in remote-only mode this week.

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Superintendent Chad Mason said the high school and middle school went online Jan. 22 due to higher COVID rates and quarantining of students. In the week of Jan. 18-24, the 600-student district reported 15 new student cases.

Mason had hoped the online approach would last only a few days. But this week, the elementary school joined the other grades in remote-learning mode, and Mason said Thursday night that things will stay that way next week.

“I’m still not happy with the active case count, plus we are expecting inclement weather and had a short week already planned for (staff training),” Mason said. “Adding it all up, it just felt like we needed a bit more time. We’ll go back full after President’s Day.”

The local school districts that reported the most new COVID cases last week, according to the ODH data, were Beavercreek (26), Springboro (23), Centerville (17), Lebanon (17) and Bellbrook (15).

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Many Dayton-area schools went back to in-person classes the week of Jan. 4. Others waited until Jan. 11 or Jan. 19 to create a time buffer after holiday family gatherings.

Only five of the 40-plus school districts in the Dayton area remain primarily on remote learning this week. Dayton and Northridge will return March 1, Trotwood’s younger grades return Feb. 15, and grades 6-12 on March 1. Yellow Springs is waiting until a set of COVID case metrics reach lower levels. And Jefferson Twp. schools decided to stay online for the entire school year.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS REPORTING THE MOST NEW COVID CASES JAN. 25-31

26 — Beavercreek (17 students, 9 staff)

23 — Springboro (19 students, 4 staff)

17 — Centerville (12 students, 5 staff)

17 — Lebanon (14 students, 3 staff)

15 — Bellbrook (13 students, 2 staff

12 — Northmont (6 students, 6 staff)

11 — Huber Heights (9 students, 2 staff)

11 — Fairborn (3 students, 8 staff)

11— Greenon (10 students, 1 staff)

10 — Miamisburg (8 students, 2 staff)

10 — Tipp City (7 students, 3 staff)

10 — Carlisle (9 students, 1 staff)

PRIVATE SCHOOLS REPORTING THE MOST NEW COVID CASES JAN. 25-31

9 — Carroll High School (6 students, 3 staff)

5 — Spring Valley Academy (3 students, 2 staff)

4 — Chaminade Julienne (4 students, 0 staff)

4 — St. Luke Beavercreek (2 students, 2 staff)

SOURCE: Ohio Department of Health

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