Tallmadge schools seeing increase in COVID-19 cases

Laura Freeman
Kent Weeklies
Tallmadge School District is reporting its first COVID-19 cases.

TALLMADGE – Although the Tallmadge School District saw no COVID-19 cases in the first quarter, it is seeing a number of cases with the latest surge in the state.

“We finished first quarter last Wednesday with no cases,” said Steve Wood, chief operations officer of Tallmadge School District. “Since then, it’s been consistent with the surge across the state. We are seeing staff members who are testing positive.”

The latest was Wednesday night when a staff member tested positive as a result of activities away from the district, Wood said.

The district worked with Summit County Public Health and contact tracing and six bus drivers and eight students were quarantined as a result of the one positive case.

“That causes a shortage of drivers for routes through next week,” Wood said. “We are scrambling to get the kids to school on time.”

“The activities away from school and work is where the spread is happening,” Wood said. “We are seeing this latest surge in the district.”

Dashboard tracks COVID cases:Tallmadge District dashboard keeps track of COVID-19 cases in the schools

According to the Dashboard, which is updated weekly or when new cases occur, in October one student tested positive at the elementary school as well as one student and one staff member at the high school.

The district saw the surge of cases in the second quarter, Wood said.

“One teaching staff tested positive last week and 75 students were placed in quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure,” Wood said.

The Dashboard shows positive cases, Wood said. It doesn’t have the number of quarantined staff and students. Quarantine is determined by distance and time exposed to someone who tests positive.

“The quarantine is to help prevent the virus from spreading any further,” Wood said. “The schools, like Tallmadge, have to follow guidelines. We have to quarantine and keep them separate and that stops the spread of the virus.”

If the district keeps losing staff members and a surge happens, it will have a negative impact on the district and its ability to operate the schools for in-person learning, Wood said.

“We are pleading with families, especially with the holidays approaching, to evaluate the activities away from school which will have an impact on our ability to operate our schools,” Wood said. “We ask families to be careful away from home. There is a lot of concern about holidays and the types of activities with students coming home from college. Families want to celebrate but this is a perfect storm of the surge in the virus. Families get together and the repercussions come back to school.”

The schools have been a steady place for students to learn, Wood said. When the second semester begins Jan. 19, students can choose whether to learn in-person or online remotely.

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.com