COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio’s K-12 schools recorded one of their highest weeks of COVID-19 cases on Thursday, reporting 8,428 new infections among students and staff members to the Ohio Department of Health.

The increase reported Thursday, which accounts for the week ending Sunday, Dec. 12, is fewer cases than the 10,190 reported last Thursday as schools caught up from the Thanksgiving break.

But 8,428 is still the fourth-largest weekly increase since NBC4 began tracking in mid-September, and it’s the largest increase in three months.

Weekly COVID-19 cases reported by Ohio schools:

  • Sept. 17:  +10,682
  • Sept. 24:  +9,827
  • Oct. 1:  +7,564
  • Oct. 7:  +7,405
  • Oct. 14:  +6,289
  • Oct. 21:  +5,116
  • Oct. 28:  +4,660
  • Nov. 4:  +4,696
  • Nov. 11:  +5,348
  • Nov. 18:  +6,781
  • Nov. 24:  +6,668
  • Dec. 2:  +5,134
  • Dec. 9:  +10,190
  • Dec. 16:  +8,428

Ohio’s school-year total now stands at 116,523 cases. Last school year they topped out at fewer than 80,000. Infections reported were caught in and out of school.

Schools report cases among students and staff to ODH on Tuesdays, reflecting the week ending on the previous Sunday. ODH releases numbers on Thursdays at 2 p.m.

Case criteria

  • Full-time or part-time students and staff who have tested positive for or been diagnosed with COVID-19. Infections were caught in and out of school.
  • Staff members include teachers, administrators, coaches and support staff.
  • Excludes students/staff who are completely remote, but includes them if they were “on-site” while infectious.

  • ODH reports “new” and “cumulative” cases. Cases only move over to “cumulative” once the person is no longer COVID-positive. NBC4’s count of new cases every week reflects the change in “cumulative” cases. More info

    1,542 (56%) of the 2,768 schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college institutions that ODH tracks have reported a case this school year. That's 19 more schools than last week.

    The median number of cases among schools with at least one infection is 23 cases, while the median number for school districts is 117 cases.

    98,514 (85%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 18,009 (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 with 2,506 cases, ahead of the Cleveland and Columbus school districts with 1,711 and 1,582 cases, respectively. Columbus is among six local districts in the top 10.

    98.7% of Ohio’s public school students were in school five days a week as of last week, according to data from the Ohio Department of Education. Three districts were in hybrid learning and one was fully remote.

    About 49% of students were in a district that requires masks for all or some students. A majority of students — 51% — learn where masks are optional.