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Ohio schools to close for three weeks, starting Monday

Public gatherings of more than 100 banned

COLUMBUS — Ohio schools will close for three weeks for an extended spring break, starting Monday, due to concerns about the coronavirus.

DeWine’s office ordered the closure to begin at the end of the school day on Monday. However, all Lawrence County schools will close after Friday, Dawson-Bryant Superintendent Steve Easterling told The Ironton Tribune.

The closure will run through Friday, April 3. The order includes all public, community and private K-12 schools in the state, but does not apply to Ohio’s childcare system such as daycare centers and home-based childcare providers, a news release from DeWine’s office said.

“During this extended period of closure, schools should work to provide education through alternative means and school district leadership may make decisions on whether to use their school buildings,” the release read. “Staff members should continue to report to school as directed by administrators.”

Over the next 72 hours, the Ohio Department of Education will develop guidance for K-12 schools to ensure the continuity of important student services, including a strategy for providing meals, DeWine’s office said in the news release.

“We want to thank educators and administrators for the extraordinary efforts they will take to continue offering services during this time of national crisis,” DeWine said.

The state also banned all public gatherings of more than 100 people after a fifth person in the state was confirmed with the coronavirus.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, applauded the passage in the Senate of the $8.3 billion funding measure to help prevent, prepare and respond to the domestic spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Portman said he will continue to work with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a bipartisan agreement to provide economic relief and support to all the individuals, families and small businesses impacted by the threat of coronavirus.

For more information, the Ohio Department of Health has opened a call center to answer questions regarding coronavirus which will be open 7 days a week from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). Resources and up-to-date information can also be found on the Ohio Department of Health’s website: http://coronavirus.ohio.gov/.