Record 6,500 new coronavirus cases reported in Ohio schools this week


State total is now more than 44,000 cases

NYC elementary classroom covid

A view of a teacher and students at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 on January 13, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio schools saw a record increase in coronavirus cases this past week as the Ohio Department of Health on Thursday reported 6,535 new cases among students and staff members.

The previous record increase was on Dec. 17 when ODH reported 5,281 new cases. Ohio schools have reported 44,216 cases since this school year began. School data was sporadic in late December and early January as students and teachers were home for the holiday break, which is why NBC4 hasn’t reported since Christmas Eve.

Cumulative COVID-19 cases reported by Ohio schools:

  • Sept. 17: 319
  • Sept. 24: 739 (+420)
  • Oct. 1: 1,274 (+535)
  • Oct. 8: 1,870 (+596)
  • Oct. 15: 2,739 (+869)
  • Oct. 22: 3,826 (+1,087)
  • Oct. 29: 5,058 (+1,232)
  • Nov. 5: 7,068 (+2,010)
  • Nov. 12: 9,876 (+2,808)
  • Nov. 19: 14,593 (+4,717)
  • Nov. 26: 19,302 (+4,709)
  • Dec. 3: 23,052 (+3,750)
  • Dec. 10: 28,218 (+5,166)
  • Dec. 17: 33,499 (+5,281)
  • Dec. 24: 36,547 (+3,048)
  • Dec. 31: Data largely discrepant, likely due to lack of reporting over holidays
  • Jan. 7: 37,681 (+1,134 over two weeks)
  • Jan. 14: 44,216 (+6,535)

Thursday’s data reflects case counts through last Sunday, when local health departments report school numbers to the state. Last Thursday, according to the Ohio Department of Education, 239 public school districts were learning in-person five days a week, which is 39% of the state’s 609 districts. 219 public districts were learning fully remotely, 149 were in a hybrid model and two were closed.

Schools report cases among students and staff to ODH on Tuesdays, and ODH releases numbers on Thursdays at 2 p.m. However, the numbers a school reports to ODH may not be as recent as Tuesday.

Case criteria

  • Full-time or part-time students and staff members who have tested positive for or been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Staff includes 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. This means the number of “new” cases each week is not guaranteed to be the weekly difference between “cumulative” totals. More info

    1,455 (52%) of 2,774 schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college institutions that the state tracks have reported cases.

    27,125 (61%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 17,091 (39%) are staff members, which include teachers, administrators, coaches and support staff.

    Cincinnati Public Schools, a district of more than 36,000 students, leads the state with 741 cases. Five Columbus area school districts are in the top seven.

    Ohio health officials have said that state-conducted research shows people in school classrooms do not have a greater risk of contracting the coronavirus whenever they are wearing a mask and socially distancing.

    Because of this new research, as well as research that shows most students learn better in physical classrooms, Gov. Mike DeWine wants all K-12 schools to return to in-person or hybrid learning by March 1. If a school notifies the state of plans to do so, its employees will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine starting Feb. 1.

    Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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