Report: Ohio schools among the safest to reopen

Published 7:05 pm Saturday, October 3, 2020

By The Center Square

COLUMBUS — As schools around the country continue to struggle with opening to in-person learning, a new report shows Ohio as one of the top places in the nation for schools to reopen safely.

As some students learn online, through a hybrid model or in person in classrooms because of COVID-19, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on the safest schools to reopen. It ranked Ohio as seventh.

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“In-person school is vital for the economy because it both provides temporary supervision for children during the day and most importantly helps students have a better chance of achieving future economic success,” Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst, said. “Of course, we should put everyone’s safety first, and only open schools in a safe way.”

In-person school closings during the pandemic often forced parents to stay at home, placing a burden particularly on single parents who could not work from home, Gonzalez said.

At the same time, Gonzalez pointed toward studies that show students develop better when in a classroom.

“In the long-term, studies show that in-person schooling provides more effective learning for students, in addition to better social development and mental health, compared to online learning. Students who get instruction in the classroom therefore may have better economic futures.”

WalletHub compared the states, using 15 metrics, including things like number of child COVID-19 cases per 100,000 children, the average public school size and the ratio of students to school nurses.

Ohio ranked 9th in child COVID-19 cases per 100,000 children and 18th in the overall likelihood of COVID-19 infections.

Ohio ranks four spots behind neighboring Pennsylvania, which was third, but five spots ahead of the next closest Midwestern state, Wisconsin.

The report ranked Vermont as the nation’s safest schools and Mississippi as the least safe.