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COVID and schools in Southwest Ohio – Fall 2020 and WLWT |

Gov. Mike DeWine said Oct. 20 that he has no immediate plan to shut down schools despite the continuing spike in COVID-19 cases across the state. He also said closing schools or shifting to remote learning is a local decision, but that some districts could take COVID-19 case levels into account in their decisions.

Nearly three-fourths of Southwest Ohio schools are holding school in classrooms five days a week – with about two-thirds of the student body attending these in-person days, according to The Enquirer’s analysis of Ohio Department of Education data. Statewide, two-thirds of the schools are open five days, but fewer than half of students are attending in-person classes. They’re learning remotely instead.

Thirty-eight counties now are at the “red alert” level. They hold 72% of Ohio’s public school children, an Enquirer analysis of state Department of Education data shows.

Ohio Department of Education

Hamilton, Butler and Warren counties, already on red alert, are anticipating a color change. If they’re purple this Thursday, what happens Friday?

Greg Kesterman, the Hamilton County Health Commissioner, said, “Really what we’re asking people to do is no different. But I’m hoping that the color change, if it happens, will cause a new sense of awareness of the need for us to be more careful here in Hamilton County, to make adjustments to make sure that we’re caring for each other and lowering COVID in our community.”

“I give kudos to all our schools, public and private,” said Clermont County Public Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit. “They’re following our guidance.”

Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman noted that when there is a positive case, “our schools are quick to figure out who the close contacts are and isolate them to help stop the spread within the school environment.”