Feb. 27—Local K-12 schools are turning a few important corners on COVID-19 and in-person classes as February turns to March.
Employees at more than half of Montgomery County's public, private and charter schools have gotten their second COVID vaccine dose this week, at a series of six dedicated educator vaccine sites run by Kroger. The last of those six is today at Stebbins High School.
Meanwhile Dayton, Trotwood, Northridge and Yellow Springs schools are bringing students back to in-person classes on Monday in a variety of forms. That will mean every local school district is finally offering at least some in-person classes except Jefferson Twp., which intends to remain online-only all year.
"I think the general mood is good going into Monday," Dayton teachers union President David Romick said Friday, as he and his colleagues got their second vaccine shots. "Everybody is weary of virtual instruction — teachers, students and parents. I would characterize teachers' feelings as nervous excitement. It's very much like a (traditional) first day of school."
Dayton's in-person students will attend five days a week, while Trotwood's returning middle schoolers and high schoolers will go four days a week. Northridge and Yellow Springs will restart in-person classes on complex hybrid models where students are only in the school buildings for part of the day.
Shannon Cox, superintendent of the Montgomery County Educational Service Center, said there were very few hiccups at the school vaccination sites handled by Kroger this week. She said out of roughly 7,000 appointments, only a handful had to be rescheduled due to things like illness and funeral obligations.
Cox said a fair number of educators reported feeling under the weather at some point in the first 24 hours after getting their second dose, consistent with reports that one-third of people will experience short-term side effects.
"These districts that have taken the day after vaccination as a day off or remote day, that was a really good call," she said.
While the Montgomery County schools that went through Kroger were at the front of the line, other schools are gradually making their way through the vaccination process.
Employees in Troy City Schools were able to get their first vaccine dose Friday through Premier Health, and are scheduled for the second dose March 19. Elsewhere Northridge schools are scheduled for dose No. 2 on March 5, Trotwood on March 8, and Yellow Springs and Springboro on March 12.
COVID data errors
The Ohio Department of Health acknowledged Friday that the school-reported COVID case data file they posted Thursday was out-of-date due to a technical problem. Some media outlets reported on the erroneous information, saying the state had hit a four-month low with only 847 new school cases.
The Dayton Daily News caught the error and informed ODH, which has since posted the most up-to-date figures.
Statewide, there were 1,633 new cases reported by schools Feb. 15-21, down slightly from 1,766 the week before, and the fourth-straight weekly decline, according to ODH.
Dayton-area reporting included 116 new cases tied to schools, significantly down from the previous week's 190, and marking the third straight weekly decline.
But even these most up-to-date figures are not accurate in some cases. Some errors are uniform at a county level — Knox County does not list a single cumulative COVID case in any of its schools since September, even though "new" Knox County cases are added week to week.
Other issues are at a school district level. For weeks, the Eaton schools website has listed the district with 81 total COVID cases (43 students and 38 staff). Superintendent Jeff Parker confirmed a week ago that those numbers were correct and that he reported them to the county health department.
But the new ODH data this week actually saw Eaton's numbers go backward, from listing 47 cumulative cases last week (27 students, 20 staff), to 36 this week (20 students, 16 staff).
PUBLIC SCHOOLS REPORTING THE MOST NEW COVID CASES FEB. 15-21
15 — Springboro (14 students, 1 staff)
15 — Beavercreek (11 students, 4 staff)
12 — Kettering (10 students, 2 staff)
7 — Centerville (6 students, 1 staff)
PRIVATE SCHOOLS REPORTING THE MOST NEW COVID CASES FEB. 15-21
4 — St. Peter (4 students)
2 — Alter HS, Dayton Christian (2 students each)