COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – COVID-19 cases reported by Ohio schools rose for the third straight week on Thursday, following a statewide increasing trend as the Delta variant wave keeps case rates high.

K-12 schools reported 6,781 new coronavirus cases among students and staff members to the Ohio Department of Health as of Sunday, bringing the school-year total to 86,103.

This week’s increase is the highest since Oct. 7:

  • 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

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

    1,496 (54%) of the 2,767 schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college institutions that ODH tracks have reported a case this school year. That’s 13 more schools than last week.

    The median number of cases among schools with at least one infection is 18 cases, while the median number for school districts is 89 cases.

    73,089 (85%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 13,014 (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 2,062 cases, ahead of Columbus City Schools at 1,196 cases. Columbus is among five Franklin County districts in the top 10.

    99.8% of Ohio’s public school students are in school five days a week as of last week, according to data from the Ohio Department of Education. However, about 50% of students are in a district that requires masks for all or some students, down from 60% two weeks prior. The other half of students learn where masks are optional.