Yesterday, the interim director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued an order requiring reporting and notification of COVID-19 cases in k-12 schools. Please see below for a brief summary of the new order’s requirements.
Maintain a reporting system.
School districts must maintain a reporting system for parents to report positive tests and/or cases of COVID-19. Parents and school staff who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, whether by laboratory test or through clinical examination, are encouraged to notify their school no later than 24 hours after receiving a confirmed diagnosis. Schools may use an existing attendance line, school nurse line, or attendance tracking system, so long as it is monitored on a daily basis and allows the reporting of a COVID-19 case.
Identify a district COVID-19 coordinator.
School districts must name a COVID-19 coordinator to facilitate reporting of case information.
Provide information to local health departments.
Districts must provide the name and contact information of their COVID-19 coordinator to their local health department. They must also provide a copy of their reopening or pandemic operating plan to the local health department, if requested.
Under the new order, districts must provide the groups listed below with notification that a student, teacher, staff member, or coach has tested positive or been diagnosed with COVID-19. This notification must be sent within 24 hours of the district becoming aware of the positive test result or diagnosis and should include as much information as possible without disclosing protected information.
Written notification of a positive test or case involving a person who is a student, teacher, staff member or coach shall be sent to:
- Parents or guardians of all students who share a classroom space or have participated in a school activity during the COVID-19 infectious period of the student, teacher, staff member or coach.
- All parents or guardians of students at the school building notifying them of a positive test result. This schoolwide notification may be made using email or an established website. Schools are required to provide this notification with each case, although schools are permitted to consolidate notifications, if necessary.
- The district’s local health department.
Notification templates will be made available on coronavirus.ohio.gov for schools to use to push out their required notifications. Schools are encouraged, but not required, to use website dashboards to inform the school community of the number of COVID-19 cases and number of students and staff isolated or quarantined, if known.
Every Tuesday, local health departments will report to ODH 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. Every Thursday, ODH will publish aggregate weekly and cumulative case data by school district including a breakdown by students and staff. This information will be published on coronavirus.ohio.gov.
The division of legal services will continue to monitor this order and provide updates as they become available. If you have any questions, please contact us at (866) 672-2529 or (866) OSBA-LAW.