DeWine says he is confident in school preparations

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2020

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he believes administrators in Ohio schools are taking proper precautions as they prepare to restart from the COVID-19 pandemic closures.

DeWine ordered all K-12 schools in the state closed for an extended spring break in March due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. This closure was extended through the end of the school year and classes were switched to remote learning.

“I think our schools are doing a very good job getting ready for in-person or virtual schooling — or both,” DeWine said in his news conference on the pandemic on Tuesday. “I have every confidence that they will do everything they can to keep Ohio’s children safe, but whatever is going on in their communities will be reflected in the schools.”

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The governor urged the state’s residents to continue to follow the precautions.

“My plea to everyone today is that if we want our kids to go to school in person, to play sports, to be in extracurricular activities — it’s up to all of us to cut down the spread in our communities,” he said. “Wear masks, social distance and avoid large gatherings.”

DeWine said about 25.6 percent of the state’s schools will be on a fully remote learning system in the fall, while 24.5 percent will utilize a hybrid system of remote and in-person classes.

Lawrence County schools are set to return to in-person learning on Aug. 24.

Six of the seven districts in the county are planning in-person classes, though some remote learning options are available for families. The South Point district is planning a hybrid learning system.

South Point announced that they will be delaying their return until Aug. 31.

DeWine was joined by Dr. John Barnard from Nation Children’s Hospital and Dr. Patty Manning of Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center to discuss the school reopenings.

Barnard said 17-year-olds “seem to be contracting coronavirus at higher rates than their younger peers.”

“This could be because they are more likely to socialize with more people,” he said.

Manning said younger children “who need closer-contact care may be more likely to spread coronavirus.”

“The older children, especially teens, are a great risk for spread because they are very active and have contact with each other,” she said.

She said, for schools to be safe, faculty and students should wear masks, practice social distancing, practice good hand hygiene and keep surfaces clean.

“Ventilation is also very important,” she said. “Teachers should try to open windows or teach outside if possible.”