2nd largest school district in Mahoning County sees high attendance numbers despite COVID-19

Local News

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Several schools across the Valley continue to struggle with attendance issues related to COVID-19, but in Austintown, it’s the opposite.

Being one of the biggest schools in the Valley, COVID-19 hasn’t hit the district that hard.

Over 4,000 students attend Austintown schools. Behind Youngstown City Schools, they are the second largest school district in Mahoning County.

On Wednesday night, the school board talked about their attendance rate when it comes to COVID-19 and contact tracing.

“From sending kids home that were contact traced, we have four kids that developed COVID from the school district,” said David Cappuzzello, Austintown Schools superintendent.

Two were at the high school, one at the middle school and the other at the elementary school.

The highest number of students sent home at one time from contact tracing was nine.

Austintown Schools does not have a mask mandate. Superintendent Cappuzello says, right now, they’ve sent home less than one percent of students.

“That percentage, those odds are amazing and doing a really nice job social distancing in the schools,” Cappuzzello said.

The school district is not against doing a mask mandate if their numbers do go up, but Cappuzzello wants a plan in place if they need to do that.

“When we go into it, say, ‘OK folks, we need to mask up. Here’s our numbers now. Here’s where we were, this is why we are. Now, when we come out, we need to be at this number here,'” Cappuzzello said.

Austintown hasn’t been completely immune this fall. They’ve had their struggles.

“We wiped out the cross country team. We also had a soccer team that went down because of contact tracing,” he said.

But Cappuzzello does admit, for being one month into school, he is surprised how good the numbers are.

“And to have the numbers we have,” he said, “yeah, it’s a little bit surprising but a great surprise.”

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