by David Miller
In August when Loveland High School athletes and possibly a band student were tested positive and quarantined after testing positive for COVID 19 rumors quickly spread through the community, however, there was never any official acknowledgment, only a very brief, casual mention of it at a recent Board meeting.
Now that fall sports are underway and in-person instruction has begun, Loveland Magazine posed the following question to the District’s Information Officer yesterday:
Is there a plan or will there be a plan to update the media in a real-time way when positive COVID 19 cases are in the school population?
The District’s answer seems to be maybe they will. The Superintendent says they are waiting for orders from Governor Mike DeWine.*
It will be our right to know data the District collects. It is “our” data as tax-paying citizens. Projecting light on vital community health information is the surest disinfectant against rumor, speculation, and fear.
Outbreaks in our schools may be the deadliest setting for the pandemic within our community.
The District does not need open records COVID advice from the statehouse when choosing to let residents know about COVID spread in the community. It’s common sense to allow citizen’s in on the data so they can also help stop the spread.
The local departments of health already releases data daily on a dozen different aspects of coronavirus cases, including the home ZIP codes of people with positive tests. The District should and can do the same.
Perhaps there is a reluctance to report bad news as if it would be bad publicity or perceived as a failure of policy of their diligent hard work keeping COVID out of classrooms. Not so. COVID is here and the public needs to feel confidant that the District who has gathered so many into classrooms will report to the greater community of our vulnerable population if there is a community spread from the local petri dish.
Disclosing real-time/point of entry data would help all families make informed decisions. Parents, guardians, and childcare providers have a right to know if cases are increasing rapidly in the school district.
It’s a simple choice, either be 100% transparent or not. No advice from DeWine can prevent the District from immediately disclosing data that doesn’t compromise the privacy of students or staff or adhering to privacy restrictions that FERPA and HIPAA require.
We’d have wished the Superintend had made an unconditional and unequivocal commitment to release real-time communication to district residents when COVID CASES are discovered in the classrooms and offices.
Loveland citizens and Tigers alike can handle the truth and as always won’t run from you… they have proven all Summer long they won’t run from you if you get COVID.
* Superintendent Dr. Amy Crouse responded:
When there is a positive case, our health team gathers the facts of the case, including the identifying information of those students and staff who have had close contact with the positive case (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more). The district sends a notice of the positive case to the appropriate school/program based on the contact criteria. The district also works closely with the Hamilton County Department of Health to complete the requirements for contact tracing.
Details of our health protocols are posted on our website and updated as needed.
We are waiting on orders from the Governor for sharing our COVID data with the public. We have been discussing and planning for this COVID dashboard and will finalize our plan once we have the full details/order from the state.