Ohio schools report more than 7,000 COVID-19 cases, slightly down from last week

Coronavirus

Co-teachers at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 Marisa Wiezel (who is related to the photographer) and Caitlin Kenny give a lesson to their masked students in their classroom on September 27, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio schools again reported thousands of new coronavirus cases this week, but a slightly decreasing trend offers some light as the state’s Delta variant wave comes off an apparent peak.

K-12 schools reported 7,564 cases to the Ohio Department of Health for the week ending Sunday, bringing the school year total to 45,808. This week’s cases are down from last week’s 9,827, which were fewer than the 10,682 a week before.

Just under half of the 2,766 schools that ODH tracks have reported at least one case this school year, which is less than two months in. 1,349 (49%) of schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college have reported a case. That’s 48 more schools than last week.

The median number of cases among schools with at least one infection is 12 cases, while the median number for school districts is 42 cases.

38,991 (85%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 6,817 (15%) are staff members, which include teachers, administrators, coaches and support staff. Last school year, students were roughly 2 in 3 cases, and staff were 1 in 3.

Cincinnati Public Schools, a district of more than 34,000 students, leads the state in cases with 891, ahead of Columbus City Schools at 569, which passed Toledo City Schools for second. Five Franklin County districts are in the top 11.

Ninety-nine percent of Ohio’s public school students are in school five days a week, according to data last Thursday from the Ohio Department of Education. But just over 68% of students were in a district that requires masks for all or some students, which state officials attribute to the high level of COVID-19 cases in school.

Gov. Mike DeWine has said he would like to take executive action to require masks in schools, but a state law passed this summer after overriding DeWine’s veto – Senate Bill 22 – stripped that power from the governor and gave it to the state legislature.

ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff and Ohio Lottery Commission Director Pat McDonald will provide more details Friday at 10 a.m. on the Vax-2-School program, which DeWine announced last week, to incentivize Ohioans aged 12-25 to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by entering them in 55 scholarship drawings.

The scholarships – five of $100,000 and 50 of $10,000 – would cover costs of any higher education, including college, technical school, job training and postgraduate study.

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