12 year old girl wearing a reusable, protective face mask in classroom while working on school work at her desk. Photo from Getty Images.
Several Ohio schools have gone back to in-person instruction this week, three of which have some of the highest numbers of student COVID-19 cases.
Hilliard City Schools, Dublin City Schools and Olentangy Local School District are going back to school five days a week, along with Gahanna Jefferson Public School District.
According to state data on reported COVID-19 cases, Hilliard has the second highest number of student cases since reporting began, with 674 total cases reported. Dublin City Schools is right behind, reporting 646 total student cases, followed by Olentangy’s 592.
The only district higher than those schools is Lakota Local School District in Butler County, which reported 704 total student cases in the most recent state data.
In terms of staff cases, Hilliard had a total of 213 cases reported, Dublin had 207, Olentangy had 208 and Gahanna Jefferson reported 79 staff cases.
Dublin schools will go into rest of the year without Superintendent Todd Hoadley, who will transition to another position within the district, according to a statement from Dublin Board of Education president Chris Valentine.
The decision came because of “stresses” due to the “pandemic, political and social issues in classroom, and other challenges,” Valentine’s said.
“In discussion with Dr. Hoadley about these stresses, it became clear that he’s in need of a different challenge…in a different capacity that would offer a break from the spotlight and 24/7 obligations of a superintendent,” according to Valentine’s statement.
Gahanna-Jefferson had a total of 214 student cases since the pandemic began. Back in October, teachers in the district went on strike, resulting in a contract including COVID-19 language.
In the contract, a system was created to report low supplies of personal protective equipment, and the district agreed to close areas of the school if PPE can’t be provided.
A “COVID leave pool” was also created as part of the contract, to be used by employees after COVID-19 diagnosis or recommendation to quarantine.
Among the other districts with the highest numbers of student cases in most recent state data were South-western City Schools (489 total student cases), Mason City Schools (462), Westerville City School District (451), Cincinnati Public Schools (449), Pickerington Local School District (388) and Oak Hills Local Schools (378).
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