COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Coronavirus cases reported by Ohio schools rose considerably this past week after dipping during the Thanksgiving holiday.

K-12 schools reported 10,190 new COVID-19 cases to the Ohio Department of Health for the week ending Sunday, Dec. 5, according to ODH data published Thursday.

The school-year total is now above 100,000 at 108,095. COVID-19 cases reported by schools topped out last school year at fewer than 80,000.

Weekly cases increased for a month until falling slightly around Thanksgiving. This week’s increase is the biggest jump since Sept. 17 (the first week NBC4 began tracking), and it’s nearly twice as high as last week’s increase hampered by the holiday.

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

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

    1,523 (55%) 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 15 more schools than last week.

    The median number of cases among schools with at least one infection is 22 cases, while the median number for school districts is 110.5 cases.

    91,319 (84%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 16,776 (16%) 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 2,353 cases, ahead of the Cleveland and Columbus school districts with 1,472 and 1,437 cases, respectively. Columbus is among six local districts in the top 10.

    99.6% 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 49% of students are in a district that requires masks for all or some students. A majority of students — 51% — learn where masks are optional.