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Ohio schools set new record for most coronavirus cases reported in a week

Ben Orner, WCMH |

As Ohio continues to ride its largest wave of the coronavirus pandemic, schools in the state reported their largest weekly increase in COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

The Ohio Department of Health on Thursday reported 5,166 new cases of COVID-19 among K-12 students and staff members, eclipsing the previous weekly record of 4,717 set on Nov. 19. The total number of students and staff who have tested positive this school year is now 28,218.

Before Thursday’s record increase, week-to-week increases of COVID-19 in school communities had been trending down, with increases of 4,709 and 3,750 in the past two weeks.

Cumulative COVID-19 cases reported by Ohio schools

  • Sept. 17: 319
  • Sept. 24: 739 (+420)
  • Oct. 1: 1,274 (+535)
  • Oct. 8: 1,870 (+596)
  • Oct. 15: 2,739 (+869)
  • Oct. 22: 3,826 (+1,087)
  • Oct. 29: 5,058 (+1,232)
  • Nov. 5: 7,068 (+2,010)
  • Nov. 12: 9,876 (+2,808)
  • Nov. 19: 14,593 (+4,717)
  • Nov. 26: 19,302 (+4,709)
  • Dec. 3: 23,052 (+3,750)
  • Dec. 10: 28,218 (+5,166)

Case data is reported to ODH on Sundays to be published on Thursdays, so cases published Thursday reflect last week. ODH reports “new” and “cumulative” cases. Cases only move over to “cumulative” once the person is no longer COVID-positive. This means the number of “new” cases each week is not guaranteed to be the weekly difference between “cumulative” totals. More info.

Current education models across Ohio

As of last Thursday, 364 of Ohio’s 609 public school districts were in a hybrid or fully remote learning model or were closed all week, according to the Ohio Department of Education. 185 were fully remote, including the state’s largest school district, Columbus City Schools, and the large urban districts of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Akron.

Updated December 10th, 2020 – Ohio Department of Education

Definitions for this data compilation are the following:

  • 5-Day In-Person: All students have the option of in-person instruction, even if schedules are somewhat adjusted.
  • Fully Remote: All students to receive only remote education, which may be teacher-led or student-led.
  • Hybrid: A mix of in-person and remote education, noting some grade levels may be entirely in-person or entirely remote.

This is a high-level categorization of General Education Models. Within these model types, there is considerable variation in district approaches. In following, some important points to keep in mind:

  • Hybrid models come in many forms such as two consecutive (or nonconsecutive) days a week in-person, alternate weeks in-person, or selected grade ranges or schools as fully remote or fully in-person;
  • Districts may be planning to transition to in-person within a short span of time if conditions allow;
  • Districts utilizing remote learning may be planning for in-person education or services for students with special needs;
  • Most districts offer an option for individual students to participate in fully remote education (although these options may vary by eligibility and capacity); and
  • Most districts have contingency plans in place for adjusting the mode of education delivery based on alert levels or other local factors.

Full data set available for the December 10th map.

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