Hillsboro City Schools will close due to illness-related absences and quarantines from Tuesday, Dec. 15 to Friday, Dec. 18, superintendent Tim Davis told The Times-Gazette.
Students will not have schoolwork during this time as the district is using four of its calamity days, which are similar to snow days, Davis said.
Students who have been learning in-person will return to campus on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
The district is extending the current semester to Friday, Jan. 8, which will allow students to complete work for this semester.
Students who were previously learning via virtual learning platforms and will return to in-person learning for the spring semester will not return until Monday, Jan. 11.
Students who will continue virtual learning will resume learning on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Athletic events will continue as scheduled so long as both teams are healthy and able to compete, Davis said.
“We have a lot of students who are quarantined,” Davis said. “We don’t have a huge number of positive cases. We’ve just got a lot of people out due to illness or quarantine. We have some people who are pending tests. And we’ve been short with [substitute teachers] all year. It’s kind of hit its peak, so we decided to shut down the last four days just to hopefully give people a little bit more time to heal up and get better before we start back again on Jan. 5.”
Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner stressed that the closure is not due to a lack of compliance in a Monday post to the health department’s Facebook page.
“There are very limited substitute teachers available in the county, and there comes a point when the number of teachers in quarantine simply can’t be covered by other staff or by substitutes,” Warner wrote. “Cases in the schools are going to reflect what is happening in our community, and I want to be clear this closure is not a reflection of anything wrong that the school is doing. All of our schools have worked incredibly hard and done an amazing job of keeping their staff and students healthy.”
In other local Covid-related news, Warner reported that Pfizer vaccines have been delivered to Ohio, and local hospitals and health departments expect Moderna vaccines as soon as Dec. 22.
Though Warner stated that information on vaccines is still tentative, he did elaborate on how the vaccines work against COVID-19.
“The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are both messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, which are a little different than some of the other vaccines that we normally administer,” Warner wrote. “The vaccine delivers RNA our body that includes instructions that tell your cells to create a very specific spike protein that is found on the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2). Once our cells follow these RNA instructions and create this spike protein, our body then recognizes that protein as not belonging there and develops antibodies to remove that protein. These antibodies get replicated across the immune system. When COVID-19 itself shows up, our immune system sees that same spike protein from COVID and already has antibodies ready to attack it.
“I have been trying to find a good analogy for this. Maybe a sports reference? We are training our immune system to recognize the opposing team’s logo and practice attacking it, so when the team itself shows up to play in full uniform, our immune system is already prepared. The general idea is that we can teach our immune system to respond to a unique part of COVID-19 instead of having to see the whole virus itself.”
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.
The following are Highland County’s overall COVID-19 statistics as of Monday:
Highland County has had a total of 1,648 lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, according to the Highland County Health Department.
The health department reported that there were 325 actively sick patients. The health department is monitoring 628 Highland County residents for symptoms, though the health department urges those who know they have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case to begin quarantine independently.
Warner previously stated that the health department is no longer able to track the current number of patients hospitalized due to Covid. As of Monday, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported 76 total hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Highland County.
According to the ODH, which reported 1,669 cumulative cases in the county as of Monday, of the cases in Highland County:
* 264 cases involved 50- to 59-year-olds. Of these cases, 11 resulted in hospitalization.
* 236 cases involved 60- to 69-year-olds. Of these cases, 15 resulted in hospitalization, and two resulted in death.
* 233 cases involved 40- to 49-year-olds. Of these cases, six resulted in hospitalization.
* 228 cases involved 30- to 39-year-olds. Of these cases, one resulted in hospitalization.
* 211 cases involved 20- to 29-year-olds. Of these cases, one resulted in hospitalization.
* 183 cases involved 70- to 79-year-olds. Of these cases, 24 resulted in hospitalization, and six resulted in death.
* 182 cases involved 0- to 19-year-olds. Of these cases, one resulted in hospitalization.
* 125 cases involved someone 80 years old or older. Of these cases, 17 resulted in hospitalization, and 10 resulted in death.
* Seven cases involved patients of unknown ages.
Warner previously stated that there is a delay in the reporting process between individual counties and the ODH.
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.