School-reported COVID cases finally drop significantly

DJ Johnson, Centerville schools security officer, receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Centerville High School, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.
DJ Johnson, Centerville schools security officer, receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Centerville High School, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

The number of new COVID cases reported by Ohio schools finally seems to be dropping — both statewide and in the Dayton area — after staying fairly flat though the month of January.

Statewide data released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Health showed the number of new school-reported cases Feb. 1-7 was 14% lower than the previous week statewide. The change in Dayton-area schools was even more dramatic, with the Feb. 1-7 new case total 27% lower than the Jan. 25-31 data.

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The coronavirus concern is far from over, as Dayton-area schools did report 246 total new COVID infections last week (177 students and 69 staff). But that 246 number was down from 340, 324 and 329 new cases the previous three weeks.

On a statewide level, the 2,785 new cases marked the second straight week of a drop in school-reported cases, following on the heels of a 7% dip the previous week.

For the second straight week, Beavercreek (25), Centerville (19) and Springboro (18) schools reported the highest number of COVID cases locally. They are among the area’s five largest school districts that are currently in session. Smaller school districts that had a significant number of cases last week included Greeneview (9) and Tipp City (8).

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Meanwhile, local schools continue to offer the first dose of COVID vaccine to their staff. Trotwood educators got their shots Monday in conjunction with Premier Health, as they prepare for students in younger grades to return to classrooms next week. More than 600 Kettering schools employees got vaccine shots Wednesday in partnership with Walgreens, with more on tap Thursday.

The three local school districts waiting until March 1 for a return to classes are Dayton, Northridge and Yellow Springs. Most local schools returned to some form of in-person learning in January, and schools’ COVID case numbers stayed fairly high that month, while Ohio’s general population saw COVID infections decrease.

There are still some concerns with ODH’s school data. Cases reported on a week or two-week lag go into the state’s cumulative totals, but they never show up as a “new” case in the state’s tally. This week there were 122 such cases statewide and 32 locally.

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But even if all of those late-reported cases were counted as “new” for Feb. 1-7, COVID case numbers still would have been down more than 10% from the week before.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS REPORTING THE MOST NEW COVID CASES FEB. 1-7

25 — Beavercreek (21 students, 4 staff)

19 — Centerville (14 students, 5 staff)

18 — Springboro (16 students, 2 staff)

12 — Miamisburg (10 students, 2 staff)

10 — Lebanon (6 students, 4 staff)

9 — Kettering (8 students, 1 staff)

9 — Greeneview (8 students, 1 staff)

8 — Tipp City (7 students, 1 staff)

PRIVATE SCHOOLS REPORTING THE MOST NEW COVID CASES FEB. 1-7

4 — Carroll HS (3 students, 1 staff)

4 — St. Luke Beavercreek (4 students)

3 — Miami Valley School (3 students)

3 — Troy Christian (3 students)

SOURCE: Ohio Department of Health

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