COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Ohio Department of Health on Thursday reported 10,682 new COVID-19 cases among K-12 school students and staff, bringing the total early in this academic year to 28,417.

Cases reported to ODH this week reflect the week ending the previous Sunday. Infections were caught in and out of school. Learn more about the data in the dropdown below:

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

    1,212 (44%) of 2,767 schools, districts, private schools, vocational schools, preschools and other non-college institutions that the state tracks have reported cases this fall. That’s 194 more schools than last week.

    The median number of cases among schools with at least one infection is nine cases, while the median number for school districts is 24 cases.

    23,886 (84%) of Ohio’s school cases are students and 4,531 (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 in cases with 515, well above second-place Toledo City Schools at 317. Four Columbus area school districts are in the top seven.

    More than 98% of Ohio’s school districts are physically in school five days a week, according to Thursday data from the Ohio Department of Education. But just over 63% of students are enrolled in a district that requires masks for all or some students, which state officials attribute to the rise of cases in school.

    “COVID cases are increasing at nearly twice the rate among school-age children as compared to how they’re increasing among the rest of the population,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.

    “If I could put on a statewide mandate, if the health department could do it, we would do it,” the governor added. But a state law enacted by the General Assembly over the summer allows legislators to overturn statewide mask mandates from the executive branch.

    “The legislature has made very clear that if we put on a mandate for kids in school to wear masks that they will take it off,” DeWine said.

    CORRECTION: Friday, Sept. 17, 5:47 p.m.: This story has been corrected to say 63% of Ohio's public school students are in a district that requires masks for all or some students, not 63% of districts.