School COVID-19 cases stay low as Ohio’s K-12 academic year nears end

Coronavirus

Hilliard school district again corrects underreporting after NBC4 inquiry

Plexiglass dividers are set up on tables in a first grade classroom at Bryant Elementary School on April 9, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Ohio’s K-12 schools on Thursday reported a second straight week of fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases as the year comes to an end for some schools.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 964 new cases among students and staff members for the week ending Sunday, May 23. Although that is an increase from last week’s 795 new cases, it is lower than each of the five weeks before.

The school year total now stands at 78,434. Infections were caught in and out of school.

With most Ohio schools ending their academic years in late May or early June, new cases could start to fall off in next week’s reporting, which will go through May 30.

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

    1,589 (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 seven more schools since last week.

    53,353 (68%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 25,081 (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 1,431. Six Columbus area school districts are in the top nine.

    Hilliard fixes underreporting … again

    For the second time this school year Hilliard City Schools, northwest of Columbus, corrected a reporting error that undercounted its coronavirus cases by more than 100.

    The first correction came in early November after an NBC4 viewer noticed Hilliard was showing just five total cases in the first month of the school year, despite the district being one of the largest in the state.

    At the time, an ODH spokesperson told NBC4 it was a “discrepancy” with the numbers that Franklin County Public Health relays to the state from the school district. Hilliard went from five cases to 114 after the correction.

    Hilliard’s cases had seemed to be ticking up with the rest of the state since the fix, but an NBC4 review of weekly data after a viewer inquired last week showed Hilliard had been at 887 cases since March 11, two and a half months ago.

    This week’s corrected case data shows Hilliard at 1,072 cases, ranked second in the state. At 887 cases last week the district was ranked fifth.

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