Coronavirus: Parents, staff now required to report cases to school district

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Tuesday marked the first day parents and staff were required to notify their K-12 school districts of a positive case of COVID-19.

Clark County has one school district with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and another with a suspected case as of Tuesday afternoon.

Under a public health order signed on Friday, schools were required to create a reporting system for parents.

Beginning on Sept. 15, school districts will be required to report student and staff cases to their local health departments every Tuesday. DeWine said previously districts should provide as much information as possible without releasing protecting information.

The health departments will then notify the Ohio Department of Health of the cases, which will be posted on the state coronavirus website every Thursday.

The state’s website will include an information breakdown of student and staff cases.

Gov. Mike DeWine said on Tuesday that districts have “an obligation,” to inform students and parents if someone in their school tests positive for COVID-19.

“Their first obligation is to the students and parents of the students. They should inform them,” DeWine said. “They have an obligation to inform anybody who is in that classroom is there was a child in that classroom that comes back positive. Beyond that, any parent of a child in the building certainly should know that as well.”

However, the governor said he understands the balance between “privacy and transparency.”

“We do not intend for protected health information to be released,” DeWine said.

Clark County has one school district — Northeastern Local School District — with a confirmed case of COVID-19. On Thursday morning, the district announced they had identified a positive case of the virus in a Rolling Hills Elementary School staff member.

On Tuesday, Greenon Local School District announced they had a suspected case of the virus. The case was found at Enon Primary School on Sept. 3. The district has not stated whether the suspected cases is a student, staffer or administrator.

“An email has been sent to the families of students in the affected classroom and the Clark County Combined Health District has determined through contract tracing that no students or staff are a close contact of the individual,” the district said in a statement.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a close COVID-19 contact is defined as “anyone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated."

The individual with the suspected case will not return to school until the health district approves their return, the district said.

The district said they will be adding “a COVID-19 data dashboard" to their website “when the state releases more information about reporting guidelines for schools.”

Northeastern also said they were “awaiting guidance from the state on how to report COVID-19 data.”

Clark County had 1,527 cases, 31 deaths and two probable deaths of the coronavirus as of Tuesday afternoon, according to ODH.

Champaign County had 260 coronavirus cases and three deaths as of Tuesday, according to ODH.

Ohio reported 131,992 total cases and 4,298 deaths of the coronavirus on Tuesday, according to ODH. Between Monday and Tuesday, the state reported 656 new cases and 22 new deaths.

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