Order would require Ohio schools report COVID-19 cases


By Todd DeFeo - The Center Square



COLUMBUS — Ohio officials plan to issue an order mandating schools put in place “a reporting mechanism” for parents to report cases of COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine announced during an Aug. 27 news conference.

“Prompt reporting to the public, the parents, will help prevent a potential further spread among students and staff, and it will also let the public know what’s going on,” DeWine said during a news conference.

“We just feel that the more information is available out there the better, and let me just maybe state the obvious, if a community has widespread or has spread … that will be reflected in the school,” DeWine added. “So the fact that a school has reports that there is COVID in the school or a student or a faculty member or someone who works there, the fact that that gets reported should not necessarily cause any great alarm.”

Under the order, within 48 hours, schools must report cases to the local health department, and local health departments will in turn inform the state at least weekly. They must also alert the public – by issuing a news release, posting it to their website or another means of dissemination.

Any disclosure will not include protected health information or students’ names, the governor said.

“Parents need to be able to call into a school and say that their child has maybe tested positive or whatever the situation is with the child,” DeWine added.

“Reporting illness to parents and guardians is nothing new for schools,” DeWine said. “This is nothing new, and this will not be unusual.”

Schools in the Buckeye State are employing a mix of in-person, virtual and hybrid learning as they return to classes.

On Thursday, Ohio reported 118,828 “confirmed and probable” cases of COVID-19 and 4,076 “confirmed and probable” deaths from the virus, which originated in China.

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By Todd DeFeo

The Center Square