Athens Middle School

Athens Middle School. Photo by Ben Peters.

The state passed down new guidance for Ohio’s K-12 public schools, altering its past recommendation that students exposed to the virus by a classmate undergo quarantine.

The new advisory recommends that students who have been exposed to another COVID-positive student no longer need to enter into quarantine, “as long as all students have been wearing masks and the exposure took place in a classroom setting,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said at his Wednesday press conference.

DeWine said that earlier this year, the state pledged to look at the rate of COVID transmission in schools, mainly through a statewide study, the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation.

Preliminary results from this evaluation, in which the Athens City School District participated, found that if students in class are masked and distanced they did not have an increased risk of catching the virus from a nearby positive student.

All of Athens County’s school districts have reported COVID-19 cases among students and staff, with each districts' COVID-19 dashboards reporting the following case counts (as of 3 p.m. on Dec. 30):

Alexander Local School District

  • Faculty and staff: eight recoveries, no active cases
  • Non-employee staff: three recoveries, one active case
  • Students: 11 recoveries, one active case

Athens City School District

  • Faculty and staff: 19 recoveries, one active case
  • Non-employee staff: None
  • Students: 11 recoveries, one active case

Federal Hocking Local School District

  • Faculty and staff: Eight recoveries, no active cases
  • Non-employee staff: One recovery, no active cases
  • Students: Four recoveries, no active cases

Nelsonville-York City School District

  • Faculty and staff: 14 recoveries, two active cases
  • Non-employee staff: None
  • Students: 21 recoveries, two active cases

Trimble Local School District

  • Faculty and staff: Nine recoveries, no active cases
  • Non-employee staff: Five recoveries, no active cases
  • Students: 15 recoveries, one active case

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 3,072 total known cases of COVID-19 in Athens County: 475 are active, and 2,588 have recovered, according to the Athens City-County Health Department.

Three deaths related to the coronavirus were reported last week in Athens County, bringing the county’s total death count up to nine.

According to COVID-19 summary data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health, a female in the 60-69 age bracket has a date of death listed as Dec. 18. Additionally, a female in the 80 and older age bracket is listed as having a date of death of Dec. 14. A male in the 70-79 age bracket is listed as having a date of death of Dec. 12.

Out of fatalities previously reported, one occurred with a female aged 80 or older and another with a male aged 70-79. The date of death listed for the female fatality is Nov. 20; the date of death for the male fatality is listed as “unknown” in ODH’s summary data, but the male is listed as having a hospital admission date of Nov. 17.

Also previously reported were three fatalities among men in the 60-69 age bracket, and one death of a woman in the 70-79 age bracket was also reported.

Young people ages 0-19 and 20-29 make up the vast majority of total cases in Athens County. Other age groups have experienced growth in cases as health leaders previously reported that the county has experienced community spread that cannot be linked back to OU students.

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