Ohio school COVID cases down for third straight week as only 9 districts remain fully remote

Coronavirus in Ohio

Educational staff at Kettering City Schools line up to receive the Covid-19 vaccine as a part of Ohios Phase 1B vaccine distribution in Dayton, Ohio, on February 10, 2021. (Photo by MEGAN JELINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) – New cases of the coronavirus in Ohio among K-12 students and staff have been cut in half over the past month, lowering to fewer than 2,000 in a week for the first time since October.

The Ohio Department of Health on Thursday reported 1,936 new cases among students and staff members for the week ending Sunday, Feb. 14, bringing the school year total to 60,107. Infections reported were caught in and out of schools.

This is the third straight weekly decrease in new cases since Jan. 28 when ODH reported 3,899 new infections, more than double the latest increase.

This week is also the first normal week since Oct. 29 that saw cases increase by fewer than 2,000. (ODH reported 1,134 new cases on Jan. 7, but data reported around the winter holidays was inconsistent and largely discrepant).

Cumulative COVID-19 cases reported by Ohio schools:

  • Sept. 17: 319
  • Sept. 24: 739 (+420)
  • Oct. 1: 1,274 (+535)
  • Oct. 8: 1,870 (+596)
  • Oct. 15: 2,739 (+869)
  • Oct. 22: 3,826 (+1,087)
  • Oct. 29: 5,058 (+1,232)
  • Nov. 5: 7,068 (+2,010)
  • Nov. 12: 9,876 (+2,808)
  • Nov. 19: 14,593 (+4,717)
  • Nov. 26: 19,302 (+4,709)
  • Dec. 3: 23,052 (+3,750)
  • Dec. 10: 28,218 (+5,166)
  • Dec. 17: 33,499 (+5,281)
  • Dec. 24: 36,547 (+3,048)
  • Dec. 31: Data largely discrepant, likely due to lack of reporting over holidays
  • Jan. 7: 37,681 (+1,134 over two weeks)
  • Jan. 14: 44,216 (+6,535)
  • Jan. 21: 48,009 (+3,793)
  • Jan. 28: 51,908 (+3,899)
  • Feb. 4: 55,264 (+3,356)
  • Feb. 11: 58,171 (+2,907)
  • Feb. 18: 60,107 (+1,936)

1,507 (54%) of 2,774 schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college institutions that the state tracks have reported cases. That is 20 more schools than last week.

38,388 (64%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 21,719 (36%) are staff members, which include teachers, administrators, coaches and support staff.

Cincinnati Public Schools, a district of more than 34,000 students, leads the state with 946 cases. Five Columbus area school districts are in the top seven.

Most districts have returned to classrooms

Next week the last remaining public school districts and private schools will begin vaccinating staff before most schools will be back to hybrid or fully in-person learning next month.

Some districts that signed Gov. Mike DeWine’s agreement to return to classrooms by March 1, however, will not make that deadline. Among them are the Columbus, Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown school districts.

“We just have a couple of outliers that need to buy into what the rest of Ohio is doing,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said at DeWine’s coronavirus briefing Thursday, referencing that most Ohio schools have already transitioned out of fully remote learning.

As of Thursday, the Ohio Department of Education counts just nine Ohio public school districts — of 609 statewide — that are still learning remotely:

  • Akron
  • Cleveland
  • Dayton
  • Garfield Heights
  • Maple Heights
  • Youngstown
  • Yellow Springs
  • Jefferson Township
  • Northridge Local (Montgomery Co.)

189 districts are in hybrid models and 411 have students in classrooms five days a week.

“(The vaccination program) has been successful in getting kids back in school,” DeWine said Thursday.

“So, the fact that some schools may miss this by a few days is not good,” he added. “But, I think we need to keep our eye on the ball that the glass is about 95% full, and we should not fixate on the 5% or so that is not full.”

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