‘We’re pleased to stay open;’ School COVID numbers up slightly again

Miamisburg high school has installed 27 hand sanitizing stations throughout the building for the new school year. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

COVID-19 cases from weeks ago are just now showing up on the state’s school dashboard

Dayton-area schools reported 53 new COVID-19 cases (36 students and 17 school staff) during the week fo Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, according to data released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Health.

That’s narrowly higher than the 50 new cases reported the week before, but continuing concerns over data lags in reporting make week-over-week comparisons difficult.

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Miamisburg schools, for example, were listed last week by ODH with only 1 COVID case since data reporting began Sept. 7. This week’s ODH data release lists Miamisburg with 12 cases, but says only three of them are “new,” meaning eight cases existed in the district prior to Sept. 28, but did not show up in state reporting at the time.

Miamisburg’s own website says three of the student cases and four staff cases were from the week of Sept. 14-18. Superintendent Laura Blessing said the district continues to rely on guidance from health department officials, although she acknowledged 6-foot social distancing does not always happen with roughly 75% of the district’s students attending in-person five days a week.

“Of our 10 school buildings, we have seven — knock on wood, I’m going to say this out loud — with no positive cases of students,” Blessing said. “This is difficult. We’re not going to lie. But our staff and students and parents have been very patient and understanding.”

Miamisburg had 105 students in quarantine last week because of potential exposure to a positive case, whether that happened at school, at home or in the neighborhood.

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“We’re probably being overcautious, but we’d rather do that because we want to keep everyone safe,” Blessing said. “As a whole we’re pleased that we’ve been able to stay open. We see the news and hear about schools having to close for 14 days. We understand that that’s a very real possibility.”

The local schools with the highest total number of reported COVID-19 cases since Sept. 7 are Springboro with 23 (19 students, 4 staff), Miamisburg with 12 (six students, six staff), Troy with 12 (seven students, five staff), Piqua with 12 (nine students, three staff), Fairborn with 10 (four students, six staff) and Franklin with 10 (seven students, three staff).

Fairborn closed two schools in recent weeks over COVID concerns. Their primary school returned to in-person classes Monday, and the intermediate school will go back next week. On Thursday, the district announced it was closing the high school on Friday due to a high number of case involving football players.

The statewide number of new COVID-19 cases tied to schools, as reported by ODH Thursday, increased again in the week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. The four weeks of the ODH dashboard have shown new case totals of 247, then 394, then 440, and then 530 in Thursday’s release.

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The ODH dashboard shows a cumulative 50 cases tied to Montgomery County schools from the time formal reporting began Sept. 7 through Oct. 4.

In a news release Monday, Public Health Dayton & Montgomery County said 72 cases had been reported by Montgomery County K-12 schools, but some of those were remote-learning students whose cases do not have to be reported to the state if the students have no school-related contact with students or staff.

Officials from Public Health have acknowledged some data lag issues, citing a backlog of work for their staff and an aging technology system used to produce the reports.

Gov. Mike DeWine has said schools are doing the best they can, but as long as the COVID-19 virus remains active in communities, it will show up in their schools. After falling below 1,000 new cases per day in September, Ohio has seen both positive test rate and number of COVID cases rise in the past 10 days.

COVID-19 CASES TIED TO LOCAL SCHOOLS

Due to data-lag concerns over which cases are truly new, the Dayton Daily News is reporting the cumulative number of cases per school since formal reporting began Sept. 7.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY (50 total, 30 students, 20 staff)

Miamisburg — 6 students, 6 staff

Miami Valley CTC — 4 students, 2 staff

Alter HS — 3 students

Vandalia-Butler — 3 students

West Carrollton — 1 student, 2 staff

Dayton — 3 staff

Northmont — 3 staff

Brookville — 2 students

Centerville — 2 staff

Mad River — 2 students

St. Charles — 2 students

St. Helen — 2 students

Bishop Leibold — 1 student, 1 staff

Ascension — 1 students

DECA — 1 staff

Chaminade Julienne HS — 1 student

Spring Valley Academy — 1 student

East Dayton Christian — 1 student

MIAMI COUNTY (61 total, 45 students, 16 staff)

Piqua — 9 students, 3 staff

Troy — 7 students, 5 staff

Covington — 8 students

Tipp City — 6 students, 1 staff

Troy Christian — 3 students, 2 staff

St. Patrick — 3 students, 1 staff

Miami East — 3 students

Upper Valley CC — 2 students, 1 staff

Nicholas School — 1 student, 1 staff

Piqua Catholic — 1 student, 1 staff

Milton-Union — 1 student

Newton — 1 student

Miami ESC — 1 staff

NORTHERN WARREN COUNTY (53 total, 42 students, 11 staff)

Springboro — 19 students, 4 staff

Franklin — 7 students, 3 staff

Fenwick — 4 students, 1 staff

Carlisle — 5 students

Lebanon — 2 student, 1 staff

Warren JVS — 3 students

Warren ESC — 2 staff

CHESS Christian — 1 student

Waynesville — 1 student

GREENE COUNTY (27 total, 16 students, 11 staff)

Fairborn — 4 students, 6 staff

Beavercreek — 7 students, 2 staff

Bellbrook — 2 students, 2 staff

Xenia — 2 students

Greeneview — 1 staff

St. Luke — 1 student

PREBLE COUNTY (14 total, 5 students, 9 staff)

National Trail — 4 students, 3 staff

Tri-County North — 4 staff

Preble Shawnee — 1 student, 1 staff

Eaton — 1 staff

Source: Ohio Department of Health

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