Clark, Champaign districts show over 100 COVID cases, hundreds quarantining

School districts in Clark and Champaign counties have reported over 100 positive cases and over 600 students and staff are in quarantine due to the spread of coronavirus two weeks into the academic year.

Most districts started school the week of Aug. 16, while a few others started a week later. Greenon will start the day after Labor Day.

According to some school COVID-19 dashboards on their websites for the week of Aug. 23-27, districts reported a total of 122 positive cases and 673 quarantined case.

According to school dashboards, Springfield reported the highest of positive cases at 42 and quarantined cases at 252. However, the district will continue to follow their current protocols and decisions.

Superintendent Bob Hill said the district will “continually monitor” COVID-19 trends and is in “constant communication” with Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson and other administrators from county schools.

“We will make adjustments to the district’s health protocols as conditions change. The SCSD encourages all staff and students, who are eligible, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The district also requires students and staff working in PK-6 buildings to wear masks and strongly recommends that all students and staff wear masks in 7-12 buildings,” Hill said.

“At this time, the district will continue with in-person instruction at all district buildings. SCSD will follow the quarantine procedures created with guidance from local and state health agencies. We encourage all students to follow preventative measures to help us keep our Wildcat family healthy and in the classroom, where they get the most out of their educational experience,” Hill added.

The schools that follow behind Springfield include Tecumseh with 30 positive cases and 100 quarantined cases and Northeastern with 14 positive cases and 132 quarantined cases.

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Northeastern Superintendent John Kronour said some of their quarantines are from outside school exposures, such as pee wee football.

“We see a more significant number of quarantines than we would like to see, but we continue to monitor the numbers and stay in contact with the CCCHD,” he said. “We will continue to follow social distancing and handwashing protocols and as many safety procedures as possible.”

Clark-Shawnee, which had a higher number of cases at 13 positive and 111 quarantined, scheduled a special emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the district’s Safe Return and Continutity of Services Plan.

Springfield football games have been canceled for the second straight week due to COVID-19 issues with their opponents. Southeastern canceled Friday’s football game and the reserve game on Saturday due to COVID-19 quarantines on their team.

“Our mission continues to be protecting the health and safety of all the students and staff within the schools and protecting the in-person education for each and every school district. Increases in positive cases as well as in the number of students and staff that have to be quarantined as a result of being in close contact threaten those goals,” said Nate Smith, Communications Coordinator, Clark County Combined Health District.

“While no district has yet reached this point, increases in the number of school staff that have to be quarantined can potentially threaten in-person learning as districts may struggle finding substitutes,” Smith added.

Almost all of the districts began this school year without requiring face masks for all students, except Springfield who requires it for those in preschool through sixth grades. Although schools did not require masks, all districts strongly recommend them, even if you are vaccinated.

“One thing we have noticed is that in school districts that require students and staff to wear masks, there have been fewer quarantines. The highest number of quarantined individuals are occurring in districts without mandatory mask policies,” Smith said.

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In Champaign County, a lower number of cases and quarantines have been reported, but school districts and the health department continue to work to curb the spread of the virus.

“We are working with our schools to reduce spread and reduce the need for any students to miss any school. Right now, the schools are working extra hard to prevent transmission within their buildings and to provide education to their students and families,” said Champaign Health District Commissioner Gabe Jones.

“We know transmission is high right now due to the Delta variant and this means that students and the districts need to be extra vigilant when it comes to employing proper hygiene measures. It’s up to everyone, including those outside of the school, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep Champaign County students healthy and in the classroom.”

The Ohio Department of Health, which lags the school district dashboards by one week, are only showing a total of 21 new cases of COVID-19 for students and staff the week of Aug. 17-23 in Clark and Champaign counties. The dashboard tracks cases of COVID-19 in all public and private K-12 schools across the state. The board is updated every Thursday.

Clark County had 15,656 cases and 316 deaths of the coronavirus as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Champaign County had 3,851 cases and 60 deaths.

As of Tuesday, 62,520 vaccination shots have been given in Clark County, according to ODH. Just over 46% of the county’s total population has received at least one shot and just over 43% has been fully vaccinated.

In Champaign County, 15,168 vaccination shots have been given, according to ODH. Just over 39% of the county’s total population has received at least one shot and almost 36% has been fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 cases, quarantines in Clark and Champaign counties

Clark-Shawnee: 13 positive cases and 111 quarantined cases.

Global Impact STEM Academy: 3 positive cases and 14 quarantined cases.

Mechanicsburg: 4 cumulative cases since the first day of school on Aug. 19.

Northeastern: 14 positive cases and 132 quarantined cases.

Northwestern: 8 positive cases and 41 quarantined cases.

Southeastern: 7 positive cases and 23 quarantined cases.

Springfield: 42 positive cases and 252 quarantined cases.

Tecumseh: 30 positive cases and 100 quarantined cases.

Triad: 1 positive case.

Source: School district dashboards. Cases include staff and students.

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