Coronavirus: Clark, Champaign schools cases remain steady with 168 reported

Clark and Champaign county school COVID-19 cases remain steady with 168 reported. Here, a teacher walks through his 5th grade classroom at South Vienna School while his students were at lunch. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Clark and Champaign county school COVID-19 cases remain steady with 168 reported. Here, a teacher walks through his 5th grade classroom at South Vienna School while his students were at lunch. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

School districts in Clark and Champaign counties have reported 168 new cases of the coronavirus in the past week.

Twelve Clark County and four Champaign County school districts reported new cases of COVID-19, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s school district dashboard’s latest update.

In total, 168 student and staff cases were reported between the counties Thursday for the week of Sept. 21-27. This is the same as the previous week’s total.

This trend is similar to state and county reports.

Clark County Combined Health District health commissioner Charles Patterson said Friday that the next few weeks will tell if the delta variant has peaked.

“That doesn’t mean run around without your masks on… it means the stuff we’ve been doing is working,” he said. He pointed to area schools using face masks during the day and the subsequent 75% drop in quarantines.

ExploreCoronavirus: Clark County sees decline in cases for second week

State officials said cases are declining.

“Looking at the numbers in Ohio, in most of parts of the state, we’re showing signs of cresting,” Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Friday. “That’s encouraging, but that’s certainly not a reason for us to declare victory over COVID and walk away.”

There were 122 cases reported in Clark County schools and 46 cases reported in Champaign County schools, according to ODH.

Springfield City School District had the highest number of student cases at 32 and Tecumseh Local School District had the highest number of staff cases at five.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and quarantines, several school districts have implemented and extended masking requirements.

Clark-Shawnee Local Schools had a temporary masking requirement through Oct. 1, but the school board voted to “one last extension” of the masking requirement for students and staff through Oct. 15. Masking will become a recommendation starting Oct. 18.

“We have been working hard to meet the educational and social needs of our students. We have seen a decrease in quarantines and positive cases since we returned from the Labor Day holiday with a masking requirement in place. In addition, local health officials are optimistic that we are beginning to see the signs of a downward trend in cases and hospitalizations in Clark County,” Superintendent Brian Kuhn said in a release.

Kuhn said the board also approved provisions on how the district will monitor and respond if quarantine cases increase. He said if 100 or more students are quarantined in one building, a temporary two-week mask requirement will be implemented for the impacted school.

“Our recent efforts have helped to keep more students in the classrooms and participating in their extracurricular activities,” he said.

ExploreSee school cases from last week

Springfield City Schools, Northeastern, Greenon, Global Impact STEM Academy, Northwestern Elementary and Urbana City Schools are the local schools to require masks. Tecumseh Local Schools are requiring masks through Oct. 1 and Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools has short-term masking in place for certain classes.

Districts also continue to hire new staff and substitutes due to a shortage, including Northwestern who had to canceled their PM latchkey.

“We had a latchkey aid quit a couple of weeks ago and we have been unable to find a replacement. As a result, we are forced to suspend our PM latchkey services,” said Superintendent Jesse Steiner. “We will continue to look for a replacement and hopefully we can resume services as soon as possible but until then there are no PM latchkey services.”

The school districts that reported student and staff cases are:

Clark-Shawnee: 3 students

Emmanuel Christian Academy: 1 student, 1 staff

Global Impact STEM Academy: 6 students

Greenon: 6 students, 4 staff

Mechanicsburg: 18 students, 1 staff

Nightingale Montessori Inc.: 3 students

Northeastern: 11 students, 3 staff

Northwestern: 18 students

Ridgewood School: 2 students

Southeastern: 3 students

Springfield: 32 students

Springfield-Clark County: 1 student, 1 staff

Tecumseh: 22 students, 5 staff

Triad: 12 students, 2 staff

Urbana: 8 students, 2 staff

West Liberty-Salem: 3 students

Cases reported on the school dashboard lag one week, meaning those reported Thursday were from Sept. 21-17

The dashboard tracks cases of COVID-19 in all public and private K-12 schools across the state. Data displayed on the board includes all student and staff cases broken into new and cumulative categories. The board is updated Thursdays.

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Sydney Dawes and Kristen Spicker contributed to this report.

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