COVID Cases Reporting – Frequently Asked Questions

COVID Cases Reporting – Frequently Asked Questions

This webpage addresses questions related to the Ohio Department of Health Director’s Order Requiring Reporting and Notification Regarding COVID-19 Cases in Kindergarten through 12th Grade Schools.
 
The FAQ addresses the following questions:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ohio Department of Health Director’s Order Requiring Reporting and Notification Regarding COVID-19 Cases in Kindergarten through 12th Grade Schools?
On Thursday, Sept. 3, the Ohio Department of Health issued an order that encourages parents and guardians of students and school staff who have been diagnosed, whether by laboratory test or through clinical examination, to notify their schools no later than 24 hours after receiving a confirmed diagnosis of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Within 24 hours of becoming aware of a student, teacher, staff member or coach who has tested positive or been diagnosed, each school shall report the case(s) to its local health department. Local health departments shall report the number of newly reported and cumulative positive tests or diagnosed COVID-19 cases in each school or school district for the previous reporting week to the Ohio Department of Health.


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Who should report student and staff COVID-19 cases to the local health department?
All districts, schools or other organizations that educate students in preschool (licensed through the Ohio Department of Education) through grade 12 should report positive tests and/or COVID-19 cases to their local health departments. For traditional public districts and joint vocational school districts, a single, combined report should be made for all schools within the district.


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Are districts and schools required to report COVID-19 cases for students and staff who are learning and educating through completely remote settings?
Districts and schools are only required to report COVID-19 cases for students and staff who are engaged in “on-site” activities. For the purpose of this reporting, “on-site” means the student or staff person has engaged in in-person activity (instruction, extracurriculars, support services) during the infectious period. In-person activity includes but is not limited to regular instruction, after school activities, sports, field trips (even if not in regular building, but in a group setting with other students/staff), support services and academic services such as testing.


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What is considered the “infectious period”?
The infectious period is defined as the time from 48 hours before the onset of the symptoms (or 48 hours before sample collection of a positive test for asymptomatic individuals) until the time when the individual is isolated.


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How does the order requiring schools to report COVID-19 cases apply to Ohio’s e-schools?
Ohio’s e-schools are included in the requirement to report positive tests and/or COVID-19 cases for their students and staff members. As is the case for all districts and schools, e-schools must only report COVID-19 cases for students and staff who are “on-site” for class or any other in-person activity. For the purpose of this reporting, “on-site” means the student has engaged in in-person activity (instruction, extracurriculars, support services) during the infectious period.


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How does the order requiring schools to report COVID-19 cases apply to districts and schools engaged in fully remote education models?
All districts and schools must report COVID-19 cases for students and staff who are “on-site” for class or any other in-person activity. For the purposes of this reporting, “on-site” means the student has engaged in in-person activity (instruction, extracurriculars, support services) during the infectious period. For instance, a student who is fully remote for instruction but is in the school building with other students for an extracurricular would be reported as an “on-site” case if the student were to test positive for COVID.


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Are preschools included in the order to report COVID-19 cases to their local health department?
COVID-19 cases for students and staff at preschools and school-age child care programs that are licensed by the Ohio Department of Education should be included in reports to their local health departments. 


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Should districts and schools providing adult education services include adult education students and staff in the positive COVID-19 cases they report to their local health departments?
The order does not require districts and schools to report COVID-19 cases for students and staff associated with adult education programs.


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When should districts and schools report a positive COVID-19 case?
Within 24 hours of becoming aware of a teacher, staff member or coach who has tested positive or been diagnosed, each district or school should report the case(s) to its local health department.


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Where should districts and schools report COVID-19 case counts?

With the exception of statewide e-schools, districts and schools should report COVID-19 cases to their local health departments. For districts and schools unsure of their primary local health departments, the Ohio departments of Education and Health have provided a list based on geographic location to use for reporting purposes. Districts and schools that already have established relationships with local health departments should continue working with their existing contacts for infectious disease reporting.



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Where should statewide e-schools report COVID-19 case counts?
Statewide e-schools may report COVID-19 cases directly to the Ohio Department of Health. A new e-school specific template will be posted under the “Schools” tab on the coronavirus.ohio.gov website under Education and Sector Requirements the week of Sept. 21. If an e-school has a case to report before the template is available, please email informatics@odh.ohio.gov.


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How should districts and schools report students enrolled in multiple settings?
In some cases, students are enrolled in multiple schools, districts or educational settings (such as after-school settings). In these cases, if a district or school receives notification from a parent that his or her child has COVID-19, the district or school is then responsible for:
  • Notifying the other districts, schools or educational settings in which that student is engaged in class or other activities; and
  • Including the positive case in its own counts that are subsequently reported to its local health department.
Ultimately, the goal is for all the educational entities in which the student is engaged in in-person activities to include that student in the counts they report to their local health departments.


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How should districts and schools report staff serving multiple settings?
In some cases, staff teach or otherwise serve across multiple schools, districts or other educational settings. In these cases, if the staff person tests positive for COVID-19, the staff person should report this information to all the school settings he or she serves. Each of the districts or schools should then include the staff person in the count it reports to the local health department.

Ultimately, the goal is for all the educational entities in which the staff person is engaged in in-person activities to include that staff person in the counts they report to their local health departments.


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How should districts and schools report positive COVID-19 cases to their local health departments?
Reporting templates and guidance for schools are available on the coronavirus.ohio.gov website. The reporting template will only need to be submitted to the local health department on days when there are new cases to report.


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Will the data on positive tests or COVID-19 cases be shared publicly?
The Ohio Department of Health will post weekly aggregate data on counts of positive tests and/or COVID-19 cases each Thursday on coronavirus.ohio.gov, beginning on Sept. 17.


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Are districts and schools required to publicly report COVID-19 case counts on their websites?
The Ohio Department of Health Director’s Order does not require districts and schools to publicly report COVID-19 case counts on their websites. However, section 4 of the Ohio Department of Health order includes information on required notifications to the school community when a positive test or case is reported to the school.


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Section 4a of the order indicates that “written notification” must be sent. Section 4b references email as a method of notification but section 4a does not. Is sending an email enough for the notification required by 4a?
Email is an acceptable form of notification.


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What should we do if a school is not listed in the drop-down menu of the reporting template?
  • If a school is not listed on the template provided but should be added, please send an email to informatics@odh.ohio.gov. The Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Department of Education will work with schools to determine how they school should be added, or if they already are rolled into the reporting structure of a district or other entity.
  • If a preschool or school-age child care program is not on the template, it means the program or preschool is licensed by an entity that does not need to report as part of the school district.


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Last Modified: 9/21/2020 3:41:18 PM