COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio’s K-12 schools reported just over 5,000 new COVID-19 cases among their students and staff on Thursday, the fifth consecutive week of declining cases since NBC4 began tracking this academic year.

The increase of 5,116 is less than half the increase from the 10,682 new cases five weeks ago. It brings the school year total to 64,618.

Weekly COVID-19 cases reported by Ohio’s K-12 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

Cases reflect the week ending this past Sunday, when schools report their numbers to the Ohio Department of Health, which publishes numbers to the public every Thursday.

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

    Just over half of the 2,767 schools that ODH tracks have reported at least one case this school year. 1,420 (51%) of schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college have reported a case. That’s 12 more schools than last week.

    The median number of cases among schools with at least one infection is 14 cases, while the median number for school districts is 63 cases.

    54,866 (85%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 9,752 (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 1,726, ahead of Columbus City Schools at 885. Columbus is among five Franklin County districts in the top nine.

    99.8% of Ohio’s public school students are in school five days a week as of Thursday, according to data from the Ohio Department of Education. Only one district is fully remote.

    Nearly 2 in 3 students — 67.2% — are in a district that requires masks for all or some students, and the remaining 32.8% learn where masks are optional.