Clark County schools reporting low COVID case numbers as many enter third week of classes

Clark County schools reporting low COVID case numbers as many enter third week of classes

CLARK COUNTY — Before students returned to the classroom in Clark County, school officials and health officials were anxious about whether a surge of new COVID-19 cases would arise.

But so far – that hasn’t happened.

Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson told News Center 7′s Jenna Lawson that things have been ‘quiet,’ but he’s happy about that.

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Patterson said he didn’t expect cases to come in as soon as kids walked in the door on the first day, but instead said it could be about three weeks.

But as many districts in the county enter their third week of classes, Patterson said there have had little to no new cases.

The county’s biggest district, Springfield City Schools, started school on Aug. 26th.

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus, but about 175 students and staff are in quarantine according to the district’s COVID-19 online dashboard.

“It means that the ways schools are going back and the protocols they have in place and the safeties they have in place have slowed or stopped the spread,” Patterson said.

Tuesday marked the first week that local health districts were tasked with gathering all COVID case data from school districts to report to the State of Ohio. Then, on Thursday, the State will begin reporting information about school districts on a county-by-county level.

Ohio mandated that schools start their own reporting system on Sept. 8.

Many districts are utilizing an online dashboard system that breaks down current confirmed cases, current quarantine cases, and cumulative confirmed cases among students and staff.

Northwestern Local Schools is one of the districts that has opted to go with the dashboard. The district also currently has zero confirmed cases and also no one who is quarantining.

Superintendent Jesse Steiner said they learn about positive COVID test results through the health district, although it is asked that parents also communicate the information to the school district.

“As soon as we know about a confirmed case within the classroom couple things go into effect,” he said.

In a classroom setting, if there were students within six feet of the positive case for more than 15 minutes – Northwestern will call those families directly with the next steps.

Anyone who may have been in the same classroom but socially distanced will receive a letter from the school district with specific information.

Steiner said the rest of the district may receive a more general text, app notification, or an all-call saying there was a confirmed COVID case in one of the district’s buildings.

“In this day and age, communication is the key to keeping everyone safe,” he said. “So we’re gonna be as transparent as we can to make sure we keep everyone safe and healthy.”

From the reporting period of Sept. 8 to Sept. 11, Northeastern Local Schools reported a confirmed COVID-19 case at Rolling Hills Elementary, Clark-Shawnee Local Schools reported a case at Possum School and Greenon Local Schools tallied one confirmed case at Enon Primary. Districts also had individuals who were currently quarantining.