COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Ohio’s K-12 schools reported this week their fewest new coronavirus cases since Oct. 8, which was just the fourth week of reporting for the school year.

Schools reported 795 new cases for the week ending Sunday, May 16, according to weekly data published Thursday by the Ohio Department of Health. This week saw the fewest cases reported since 596 on Oct. 8, and it was the first week under 1,000 since April 8.

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

    The school year total now stands at 77,470 cases.

    1,582 (57%) of 2,774 schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college institutions that the state tracks have reported cases. That is three more schools since last week.

    52,500 (68%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 24,970 (32%) are staff members, which include teachers, administrators, coaches and support staff.

    Cincinnati Public Schools, a district of more than 34,000 students, continues to lead the state in cases with 1,413. Six Columbus area school districts are in the top nine.

    As of Monday, Ohio no longer requires people who are fully vaccinated (two weeks after final shot) to wear masks in most settings. However, masks are still required in schools because most students are still unvaccinated.

    Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday this will be the case until June 2 when remaining state health orders are lifted.

    “If a school wants to make a decision that late in the year to switch over and not have mandatory masks, they can do that,” the governor said. “But up until then, schools need to – and the health order says that – they will have to continue to mask.”

    Last week, the Pfizer vaccine became available for Americans as young as 12. Ohioans aged 12-17 with at least the first shot of the vaccine are eligible to win a full scholarship to the state college or university of their choice.

    One winner in this lottery will be drawn every week for the next five weeks. Enter at