COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday announced Ohio schools will remain closed until May 1 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. That extends his school-shutdown order another three weeks, after which it will be evaluated again.
Locally, the two public school districts prepared for the extended closure.
“We are continuing to evaluate our processes for educating our students for this extended period of time,” Miami Trace Local Schools Superintendent David Lewis said on Monday. “We are currently working as a team to make necessary adjustments. Specific information will be provided to families soon.”
Miami Trace continues to encourage families of the district to watch the district’s social media and website for continued updates as they continue to work through the situation.
Washington Court House City School Director of Marketing and Communication Trevor Patton said while they are anxious to see the students back in the classrooms, they will remain innovative, flexible and resilient in their efforts to educate kids.
We will continue to do everything we can to continue to engage, inspire, and grow our students, no matter where they are,” Patton said on Monday. “Blue Lions are resilient. Our students are already doing a phenomenal job at home, so we encourage them to keep up the good work by engaging in their remote learning, as well as taking time to get exercise outside, practice social distancing, and wash their hands. We encourage everyone to be sure to follow our official social media accounts for the most up-to-date information available, as we will continue to share it there as soon as it becomes available.”
A look at more virus-related developments in Ohio:
After pushback from DeWine, the Food and Drug Administration authorized Columbus-based private research lab Battelle to deploy a system in Ohio, New York and Washington state that can sanitize 160,000 face masks a day. The FDA initially approved only 10,000 masks a day.
In central Ohio, the Franklin County Public Health Department said it was accepting “home sewn masks” along with manufactured personal protective equipment.
A prison employee at the Marion Correctional Institution tested positive for the coronavirus, officials reported, marking the first such occurrence in Ohio. Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court was considering a lawsuit by an inmate seeking release from Belmont Correctional Facility over fears of the virus.
More than 1,900 cases are confirmed, with 39 deaths as of Monday and nearly 500 people hospitalized, officials reported. That doesn’t reflect all cases in Ohio, because the state limits testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers.
For most people, COVID-19 displays mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can be more severe, causing pneumonia or death.
The state has updated its Support Local Ohio website promoting Ohio businesses with online options across the state and allowing businesses to create their own listings.
At Miami University, officials are already considering the possibility the pandemic will prevent students from returning to campus next fall, with an email to department heads soliciting suggestions for more courses to be taught online and discussing an expected sharp drop in attendance, according to The Enquirer.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said he is donating two months of his Senate salary to organizations helping to fight the pandemic in Ohio. The multimillionaire Republican said he wants to help individuals and businesses struggling to stay financially afloat. The roughly $29,000 will be divided among five regional groups: the Cleveland Foundation COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, the Columbus Foundation Emergency Response Fund, the United Way and Greater Cincinnati Foundation local nonprofit fund, the Southeast Ohio Food Bank and the Greater Toledo Community Foundation COVID-19 Response.
Planned Parenthood and two Ohio abortion clinics have asked a federal judge to stop the state from enforcing a ban on elective surgeries in a way that would prevent abortions during the crisis.
THE NEW NORMAL
Organizers postponed the annual Taste of Cincinnati food festival until July, while fashioning a “virtual Taste” for April 3-5. People are urged to order carryout, drive-thru or delivery dishes from festival participants, and bands who were scheduled to perform will play livestream concerts. Chefs will give cooking demonstrations online. T-shirts to benefit local businesses are being sold with the slogan: “Carry out, Carry on, Cincinnati.”