Student COVID cases increasing at Wilmington City Schools


150 students have tested positive this month

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]



From left, Chastity Flanigan with the Wilmington City Schools Foundation presents school district Treasurer Kim DeWeese a $12,570 check to fund 13 school projects.

From left, Chastity Flanigan with the Wilmington City Schools Foundation presents school district Treasurer Kim DeWeese a $12,570 check to fund 13 school projects.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

This year’s Wilmington High School yearbook staff was recognized for their hard work. From left in front are Carsyn Custis, Hannah Reynolds, and Lyla Kirk; and from left in the back are Avni Patel, Skyla Edwards, and Addy Smith. Not pictured are Charlotte Housh and Carlie McCoy.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — The superintendent of Wilmington schools gave a COVID update at Monday’s board meeting, where two members of the public spoke on the same topic and said that exposures to the current high student case numbers can have implications for the wider community.

Supt. Mindy McCarty-Stewart said that over winter break the district hired five additional substitute teachers using recently passed Ohio Senate Bill 1, which relaxes education requirements for substitute teachers this school year. Several substitute teachers also were added to Wilmington City Schools’ (WCS) list of subs through the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center.

A well-attended training was held for all WCS substitute teachers Jan. 3. Then over the two-day period of Jan. 13-14 when teacher absences were at their highest, the district was able to fill 21 instructional positions including classroom aides, minimizing the need for internal coverage where on-site teachers lose their planning period, said McCarty-Stewart.

She said WCS has not had any reports of a student with an extended COVID illness nor any hospitalizations. The superintendent said school officials appreciate it when they receive feedback from families about students’ health and well-being.

A chart in her PowerPoint presentation showed that in three of the district’s four buildings confirmed student cases have gone up all three weeks since school resumed after the holidays. Districtwide, 150 students tested positive for COVID during those three weeks.

The final PowerPoint slide, labeled “Considerations for Parents”, asked parents to consider having their child wear a mask in groups and at school. Surgical and N95 masks are available in each building, the slide noted.

The slide also asked parents to consider COVID vaccination and/or a booster shot for their family. That same slide also mentioned ordering free COVID home test kits from the government (COVIDtests.gov) and to test when someone has symptoms.

McCarty-Stewart said WCS officials’ focus “is about [having] as much normalcy as possible, doubling down on what we can do during the chaotic times that are going to ebb and flow.”

She added it is so important their doors stay open if at all possible, because that’s the best thing academically, socially, and emotionally for the students.

During the meeting’s public participation period, parent Laura Struve said kids are getting COVID in school and bringing it home.

A friend of hers has a middle school daughter who was exposed and then tested positive, said Struve. Shortly thereafter the father had it and a week later the mother tested positive.

Struve also commented that last year students were more likely to be exposed when they were out in the community rather than in school, whereas this year more students are exposed at school than out of school.

Elaine Silverstrim, who identified herself as a former teacher, told the board she was really appreciative when WCS started school last August during the delta variant wave and there was a mask requirement. That made her feel much more safe in the broader community, she said.

Silverstrim was deeply concerned when the mask requirement was rescinded last fall “even as we knew Omicron was on the way.”

In the future, there will be other viruses, she said. She asked that — when there’s some breathing space — school officials review their policy for health issues and concerns “because let this be our time to learn and be better when the next one hits.”

In another matter, Chastity Flanigan with the Wilmington City Schools Foundation presented a $12,570 check to fund 13 school projects aimed at enhancing the education environment of WCS students, faulty, and staff.

In a report to the board, Middle School Co-Principal Jen Martin said the focus there this third quarter is upon student engagement.

Some things you look for regarding student engagement, she said, are a mix of teacher talk along with student action and talk, as well as students working during various classroom settings such as the whole group, small groups, partner work, and independent work times.

In a business item, Board of Education members unanimously passed a resolution to proceed with submitting to voters a proposed renewal of the school district’s 1 percent income tax at the May 3 election.

According to the text of the resolution, if it’s approved 95 percent of the levy proceeds will be used for current expenses and the remaining 5 percent shall be earmarked for general ongoing permanent improvements.

The existing 1 percent school district income tax will expire at the end of 2022.

At the election last fall, the same proposed income tax renewal failed at the ballot box, with 1,900 people against and 1,732 for. Voter turnout in the school district was just shy of 28 percent.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

From left, Chastity Flanigan with the Wilmington City Schools Foundation presents school district Treasurer Kim DeWeese a $12,570 check to fund 13 school projects.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/01/web1_foundation_c.jpgFrom left, Chastity Flanigan with the Wilmington City Schools Foundation presents school district Treasurer Kim DeWeese a $12,570 check to fund 13 school projects. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

This year’s Wilmington High School yearbook staff was recognized for their hard work. From left in front are Carsyn Custis, Hannah Reynolds, and Lyla Kirk; and from left in the back are Avni Patel, Skyla Edwards, and Addy Smith. Not pictured are Charlotte Housh and Carlie McCoy.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/01/web1_yearbk_staff_c.jpgThis year’s Wilmington High School yearbook staff was recognized for their hard work. From left in front are Carsyn Custis, Hannah Reynolds, and Lyla Kirk; and from left in the back are Avni Patel, Skyla Edwards, and Addy Smith. Not pictured are Charlotte Housh and Carlie McCoy. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
150 students have tested positive this month

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]