Lakota leader echoes state officials on progress in COVID-19 battle in chat with parents

Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller echoed state health officials Wednesday in citing some progress in the battle against the coronavirus. Miller told school parents during an online chat there are reasons for optimism schools are on the path back to pre-coronavirus normalcy.  NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller echoed state health officials Wednesday in citing some progress in the battle against the coronavirus. Miller told school parents during an online chat there are reasons for optimism schools are on the path back to pre-coronavirus normalcy. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The leader of Butler County’s largest school system spoke Wednesday about progress toward reaching coronavirus-free schooling as state health officials touted a continued leveling off of some key statistics in the state’s battle against the pandemic.

Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller held an online chat and told school parents he is seeing improvement in the multiple efforts to return to normalcy.

“I’m hoping we are getting closer to post-pandemic,” said Miller.

The previous week saw hundreds of Lakota teachers and employees line up at Lakota West High School to get the first of two COVID-19 vaccine injections, which Miller said up to 85 percent of staffers received.

ExploreLakota West will continue as COVID-19 vaccination hub after district staffers start shots

The district has also revamped its coronavirus dashboard to update each school day, rather than weekly as it previously had, and the number of student and school staffers testing positive for the virus remains relatively low compared to the general population.

Miller, who has worked closely with both the Butler County General Health District and UC West Chester Hospital officials, said the final round of injections for staffers will be on Feb. 24 but that time will be followed by two days of closed schools as a precautionary move to accommodate any side effects.

“We will go remote (at home learning) on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 and the reason for that is the research is telling us and the studies are telling us that about a third of the people after they have their second vaccine are showing some symptoms for 24 to 48 hours,” he said.

“I’m hopeful (the two days) will be our last remote learning days for some time.”

But he added, “this bodes well for us remaining open for the rest of the (school) year.”

Coronavirus daily cases remained under 4,000 in Ohio for the sixth straight day Wednesday as the state’s hospitalizations continued to decline, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Ohio recorded 3,281 daily cases, bringing the state’s total to 928,631. Ohio’s 21-day average also dropped to 4,105 on Wednesday.

Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to re-evaluate Ohio’s curfew today .

With hospitalizations remaining under 2,500 for nine straight days as of Wednesday, Ohio could see its curfew lifted entirely in the next few days.

Earlier this month DeWine outlined different guidelines to loosen the curfew. If hospitalizations remained under 3,500 for seven straight days the curfew would be from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. and if they stayed under 3,000 for a week it would be from midnight to 5 a.m. Keeping hospitalizations under 2,500 for seven consecutive days would get the curfew lifted completely.

As of Wednesday, Ohio had 1,922 coronavirus patients in hospitals across the state, according to ODH. It’s the second day in a row the state’s hospitalizations remained under 2,000.

Ohio reported 227 hospitalizations and 20 ICU admissions Wednesday, for a total of 48,080 hospitalizations and 6,889 ICU admissions throughout the pandemic.

Deaths increased by 63, bringing the state’s total to 11,856.

DeWine is also expected to give more details on vaccinations for Ohioans deemed “medically vulnerable” but who are younger than 65 years old.

As of Jan. 25, people with an intellectual or developmental disability and a severe congenital, developmental or early onset medical disorder were eligible to receive the vaccine. Starting next week, the vaccine will be available to those with a severe congenital, developmental or early onset medical disorder regardless of intellectual or developmental disability.

Continuing coverage

The Journal-News has used reporters in our communities to cover all aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, including its impact on schools and students. Today’s report continues our commitment to sharing community stories about the impact and future of the pandemic on a variety of residents.

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