Nine schools will participate in the Ohio COVID-19 School Evaluation study of how the coronavirus spreads in schools, using rapid tests to inform future decisions about social distancing and quarantining.
Participating in the study are Ashland City, Athens City, Champion Local, Lakota Local (Butler Co), Marysville Exempted Village, Mason City, Princeton City, Troy City, and Whitehall City.
Napoleon Area City Schools is said to have opted out of the study this past Monday.
The study is in response to complaints from some Ohio districts that quarantining students who were in proximity to students testing positive has been overly cautious and forced large numbers of healthy students to miss in-person school, sports, and other extra-curricular activities due to staying at home for two weeks.
Though there are 231 Ohio districts typified as rural, none of the schools in the study are categorized as rural (type 1 or 2) and described as having a high student poverty and small student population or average student poverty and very small student population respectively.
Nor are any considered type 8 – urban with a very high student poverty & very large student population. There are eight schools in Ohio with this classification (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown) serving just over 255,000 students or 15.4 percent of all students in Ohio.
As a consistent way to stratify districts for research purposes, Ohio districts can be classified into typologies based on shared demographic and geographic characteristics according to the Ohio Department of Education.
Of the districts in the study:
- Champion Local is considered a type 3 – small town – low student poverty & small student population.
- Both Ashland City and Napoleon Area City are type 4 – small town – high student poverty & average student population size.
- Three districts are type 5 – suburban – low student poverty & average student population size: Athens City, Marysville Exempted Village, Princeton City, and Troy City.
- Lakota and Mason are considered type 6 – suburban – very low student poverty & large student population.
- Whitehall City is labeled as a type 7 – urban – high student poverty & average student population.
Roughly 62 percent of Ohio students reside in urban and suburban communities; 15 percent live in rural areas and another 21 percent live in small towns.
District demographic data
Demographic details in the table below are pulled from Ohio School Report Cards. If enrollment is less than 10, results are Not Calculated (NC). *Napoleon Area City Schools is no longer participating.
|American Indian or Alaskan Native||NC||NC||NC||NC||0.3%||0.2%||NC||NC||NC||NC|
|Asian or Pacific Islander||0.8%||4.3%||NC||7.5%||3.4%||28.8%||NC||4.7%||3.7%||0.7%|
|Students with Disabilities||12.4%||18.4%||11.2%||10.0%||16.4%||9.3%||15.3%||14.6%||12.3%||15.4%|
About the evaluative study
According to an FAQ published on multiple school district sites, the Ohio COVID-19 School Evaluation will help determine how the virus is spreading amid what is defined as “close contact.” Currently, “close contact” is defined as being within six feet of someone with COVID-19 for longer than 15 minutes.
Researchers hope to learn whether children who are close contacts do in fact need to stay home for risk of contracting the virus, assuming that they and the positive case wore masks properly in school.
A Rapid COVID-19 test will be used to gather data and inform decisions about social distancing and quarantining. An FAQ concerning the study is posted on several school district websites that includes details about how the study will be conducted.
School will continue as usual during the evaluation. If a child has COVID-19 during the evaluation, the child will have to stay home for at least 10 days. The school and the local health department will find the children who are close contacts of the child with COVID-19.
Children who are close contacts may stay in school if both the child with COVID- 19 and close contact child were wearing a mask properly and consistently. But to be sure that the close contact children do not have COVID-19, a parent or guardian must agree to letting the child get a test for COVID-19 twice a week.
Some children in the school who are not close contacts will also be asked to have tests for COVID-19. High school students in the evaluation will be asked to answer a short survey about their activities. The survey takes about 15 minutes.
Parents will get their child’s test results and they will not be shared with any other parents or students. Those with positive tests will need to stay home and kept isolated and away from other children and other family members as much as possible.
The full evaluation will last several weeks.
In general, the FAQ’s are like the one below.COVID19-Evaluation-Study_11_18
COVID-19 dashboards for districts in the study
Napoleon Area City – district has opted out of study; COVID-19 data can be found on their website under “Quick Links.”