Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday his order requiring all K-12 schools to report COVID-19 cases to their local health department. Schools must do so within 24 hours of notification of a positive test result from a student, teacher, staff member or coach.
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order under DeWine. The order requires each school to appoint a coordinator to report positive cases, and to create a “reopening or pandemic operating plan.” It also requires schools to notify all parents and guardians of case reports. The order did not mention a requirement to tell the staff.
Although schools are mandated to report cases, those infected are “encouraged to notify their school” within the 24-hour time frame of their diagnosis.
It is unclear by the order’s language whether the school’s reporting official will divulge infected individuals’ identities and personal information with government officials.
The order reads: “5. Within twenty-four (24) hours of becoming aware of a student, teacher, staff member, or coach who tests positive or is diagnosed with COVID-19, each school shall report the case(s) to their local health department…. ”
Earlier this week, DeWine issued an order requiring public colleges and universities to create space for quarantine shelters. Under the order’s language and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) definition of non-congregate spacing, hotels and apartments may be subject to a similar mandatory mutual aid agreement or contract.
DeWine’s Press Secretary Dan Tierney and Ohio’s ODH have yet to reveal the necessary actions to procure space, or the reason for the establishing order when hospitals lost money over other pandemic spaces and the curve has been flattened.
The order requiring K-12 schools to report COVID cases did not state the repercussions for failure to adhere to its guidelines. Local health departments must report case data from the schools to the state’s ODH starting September 15.
Schools must report their data to local health departments immediately.
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