During a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced guidelines “backed by science” that Ohio public schools will need to follow upon reopening in the fall.
Key points from the press conference include:
- vigilantly assessing for symptoms
- washing and sanitizing hands to prevent spread
- thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing school environment to limit spread on shared surfaces
- practicing social distancing
- a face-covering policy.
“The risks of being in school outweigh the risks of not being in there,” said Dr. Chris Peter, the president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, also citing that some kids were missing pediatric appointments due to not attending school.
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On Tuesday, Columbus City Schools Superintendent and CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon and the Reopening Task Force outlined a safety recommendation plan for Columbus schools, which includes:
- early childhood students using a blended model based on each child’s individual needs
- grades K-8 attending school using a blended in-person/online learning model
- and grades 9-12 attending school remotely full-time from home for at least the first two quarters of the school year.
DeWine mentioned that there was a strong consensus among teachers, principals, and the public around Ohio that kids “need to get back in a building” to learn.
DeWine and state officials talked with dozens of teachers, superintendents, school officials, and medical experts when putting together the document for Ohio school reopening guidance.
“We have an obligation, all of us, to educate our children and keep them safe,” DeWine said.
At the time of the press conference, the webpage featuring the guidance for reopening schools had been hacked. You can find the state’s resources on COVID-19 here.
DeWine mentioned that the recommendation was that students in third grade and up should wear a face mask, with a strong recommendation for those in sixth grade and up.