(Ohio) – Governor Mike DeWine announced this week plans for schools to resume in-person classes in the fall, on one condition.
DeWine’s latest guidelines include a requirement for teachers and staff to wear face coverings when classes resume. He explained in some cases, a face shield can be used instead of a mask.
According to the Ohio Department of Health website, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Ohio as of Thursday was 54,166. That is down 1,301 cases from Wednesday, which was the third-highest daily total thus far. There were 2,903 deaths as of Thursday, an increase of 27 from Wednesday. And the number of hospitalizations rose 127 from Wednesday to Thursday to 8,038.
DeWine indicated that when schools return to regular session, students will not be required to wear masks, however, he strongly recommends students in grades three through 12 wear them unless there is a medical or developmental reason that they cannot.
Additional guidelines include:
- Monitoring for symptoms
- A testing strategy with local health departments
- Proper social distancing
- Frequent hand washing and thorough sanitation of desks and other surfaces
- Schools will also be required to provide hand sanitizer
DeWine also recommended that schools consider modified lunch schedules or having students eat in classrooms in an effort to limit contact with others.
The more than 600 school districts in the state have started to plan for the fall. Some have announced plans to continue online learning while others are looking to a regular, full-time, in-person approach. And others still are considering a hybrid approach that would include alternating in-person class days and incorporating remote learning.
DeWine added that while the pandemic is still very real, there is a widespread consensus across the state that students need to get back to school so they do not fall even further behind.
Additionally, the Governor indicated he hopes to make an announcement next week regarding how much funding the state will provide to help schools implement new guidelines.