Last week, Bright Local reported its first COVID-19 cases. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also discussed the current states of K-12 schools, colleges and universities during a Wednesday statewide address.
On Nov. 6, Bright Local reported a positive case of COVID-19 in Whiteoak High School. According to a document available on the district’s website, www.blsd.us, one student had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Nov. 6.
As of Nov. 6, 38 Bright Local students and two staff members were in quarantine.
In a Nov. 6 update on the district’s website, superintendent Mike Bick wrote, “Due to HIPPA guidelines, we are unable to share any further details. The Highland County Health Department will take the lead in collaboration with Bright Local Schools in any follow-up investigation as it relates to ‘close contact tracing’ and will notify individuals if deemed necessary.
“I want to assure you that, in consultation with the Highland County Public Health Department, we are continuing to follow state and local protocols to provide the safest environment possible for our students and staff.”
Bright Local was the last public Highland County school system to report a COVID-19 case.
Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner also reported the district’s first case on Nov. 6, but he added that local district’s cases seemed to be due to exposure outside of the classroom.
“School cases continue to pop up in various school districts, but we are not seeing evidence of spread within the schools in the classroom settings,” Warner said. “We are seeing some spread between students in other settings, such as after school get-togethers, sports team practices, and other events that are outside of the classroom where masks are worn less often and where social distancing measures are not being followed closely.”
Warner previously expressed concern that if current Covid trends do not change, the decision of whether or not schools remain open for in-person learning may not be up to individual school districts for long.
During DeWine’s Wednesday statewide address, the governor urged Ohioans to wear masks, which reportedly decreases the spread of COVID-19 and ensures that K-12 students still have the option to attend school in person.
“Our K-12 schools are doing a fantastic job, and I thank them. I believe that most children are better off in school than learning remotely,” DeWine said. “However, as the increasing surge threatens school districts’ ability to keep teachers in the classroom, some schools are starting to shift to virtual learning. We must do everything in our power to slow this virus down so our kids can stay in school.”
Colleges and universities may not have the option to remain on campus, however. According to DeWine, a “vast majority” of Ohio colleges and universities have decided to finish the semester remotely following Thanksgiving break. DeWine added that if community spread does not decrease by the beginning of the spring semester in January, college and university students may not be able to return to on-campus learning.
The following are updated statistics for Highland County school systems, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) as of Thursday:
* Bright Local had one new case involving a student. This school year, Bright Local has had one cumulative student case and no staff cases.
* Fairfield Local had two new cases involving a student. This school year, Fairfield has had three cumulative student cases and five cumulative staff cases.
* Greenfield Exempted Village had two new cases involving students and one new case involving a staff member. This school year, GEVSD has had 12 cumulative student cases and five cumulative staff cases.
* Hillsboro Christian Academy Preschool had no new reported cases. This school year, the preschool has had one cumulative student case and one cumulative staff case.
* Hillsboro Christian Academy Private School had no new reported cases. This school year, the private school has had one cumulative student case and four cumulative staff cases.
* Hillsboro City Schools had two new cases involving students and three new cases involving staff members. This school year, Hillsboro City has had six cumulative student cases and seven cumulative staff cases.
* Lynchburg-Clay Local had one new case involving a student and one new case involving a staff member. This school year, Lynchburg-Clay has had seven cumulative student cases and four cumulative staff cases.
* As of Thursday, the Highland County Board of Developmental Disabilities, St. Mary Catholic School, and Stonewall Academy have had no reported COVID-19 cases.
Warner previously stated that there is a delay in the reporting process between individual counties and the ODH.
Also as of Thursday, the ODH reported that Highland County has had 79 cumulative cases involving residents between the ages of 0 and 19. The ODH reported a total of 750 cumulative cases overall in Highland County.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.