by Hannah Roberts Gwynne
Loveland, Ohio – After confusion about whether COVID-19 data at Loveland City Schools would be made known to the public, a Health Order was issued by the Ohio Department of Health stating new guidelines that K-12 schools must follow.
Parents and guardians of children at Loveland City Schools are not required but “encouraged” to report COVID-19 cases in their household to an official at their child’s school, as stated in this order issued on September 3.
“(…) all schools that provide any kindergarten through grade twelve instruction shall maintain a reporting system for parents to report positive tests and/or cases of COVID-19,” states the order, given by Interim Health Director, Lance D. Himes.
“Parents or guardians of students and school staff who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (…) are encouraged to notify their school no later than 24 hours after receiving confirmed diagnosis.” (emphasis added).
Although cases of COVID-19 are being tracked by Loveland City Schools now, it is difficult to get an accurate understanding of the true volume of potential cases. “Because we rely on people reporting that [information] to us, there isn’t a way for us to be accurate with those numbers,” says Superintendent Dr. Amy Crouse, referring to numbers reported by parents. “Parents don’t have to alert us, even though they’re encouraged.”
COVID-19 numbers are being tracked on the school’s site as well as the number of subsequent quarantines that would occur if a sick student exposed others to the illness.
“Right now,” says Crouse, “parents would call into their [child’s] building and report the illness to the school nurse or the district point of contact.”
Eric Dool currently serves as the Loveland City School’s point of contact. Dool fulfills the new Health Order’s requirement that school districts name a “coordinator to facilitate reporting of case information.”
“We are going off positives,” says Crouse, “Not if you’re quarantined by someone else.” Crouse is referring to children who have been exposed to COVID-19 outside of the classroom. “Cases will only be reported if the student has been at the school.”
Crouse uses a hypothetical example of a Loveland student contracting COVID-19 at an amusement park. If that child’s parent called in and reported a self-quarantine, Loveland Schools would not report it, according to Crouse. Additionally, if a positive test were reported in this same case by the parent, but the child had not been to classes, the case would not be reported on the Loveland School’s site.
However, Crouse later retracted this statement and said that Loveland Schools would report the positive test in this case but would also report that there had been zero quarantines because the child had been in isolation already.
Is Loveland City Schools ready for a COVID-19 outbreak if the worse case scenario came to pass? “I think we’re very prepared,” Crouse states. However, she says, “We haven’t had a positive case since school has started. We have tried to learn from other districts. We were fortunate last week.” (emphasis added)
It is going on two weeks since classes have begun in Loveland City Schools and so far, zero cases of coronavirus have been reported since in-person classes began. (Loveland City School District COVID-19 Data Update)*
* In order to find the school’s COVID-19 data, go to Loveland City Schools home page, click the tab “Reopening Plan.” On the left-hand side, it will say “COVID-19 Data Update.” Click there. At the very bottom of that page, click the link to their document that tracks the numbers.