Kids won’t be back in the classroom this school year. Fall classes are still up in the air. Governor Mike DeWine made that announcement and addressed testing, data reporting, and his concerns for the African American community, and explained why nursing home data was removed from Ohio’s COVID-19 site and if Ohioans will be required to wear masks in public. Here’s the five main points.
School Will Be Remote For Rest Of Year
There will be no in-person school for the rest of this school year. Classes will continue to be held remotely.
DeWine said there were two reasons:
- The virus continues. It remains dangerous. Risk to students, teachers, and community.
- Continuity. To go back to school with little time left in the year is not a good idea.
He said no decision has been made about school in the fall. “We’ll have to see where we’re going. Schools are already preparing for the fall. They’re thinking about how they will handle the fall when they are back in school. I was just really impressed and delighted by all the thinking that’s going into this already.”
DeWine said one option was a possibility of a blended system this fall. It would combine some distance learning as well as some in-person learning. He said, “That’s just a possibility. Each school district is going to be different.”
The Governor said he was particularly worried about certain groups of children:
- Children with special developmental needs
- Children with health challenges
- Children with no or limited Internet access
- Children without a supportive home life
DeWine said he also did not know what fall would look like on college campuses.
- Cases Probable 12,919
- Cases Confirmed – 12, 516
- Hospitalizations 2,653
- ICU -798
- Deaths probable – 509
- Deaths Confirmed -491
- Scioto County -6
- Prisons – 2,400
- Marion Correctional Facility – 1,828
The Governor announced that hospitals could once again send their tests to private labs. Previously Dr. Amy Acton issued an order requiring hospitals to send tests to Ohio labs.
Dr. Amy Acton said that the intensive testing in prison had resulted in a rise in cases. She said the number of people who were positive for COVID-19 but showed no symptoms was startling.
She said that Ohio was showing some upticks in the virus due to expanded testing.
African American Impact
Governor DeWine said he was especially concerned about the impact the virus was having on Ohio’s African American population. “It is very, very concerning.”
Whites make up 49% of Coronavirus cases in Ohio. African Americans account for 21% of cases. DeWine said he believed the actual numbers of African Americans to be much higher.
The African American population of Ohio is between 13 and 14% of the population. He announced that he’s put together a task force to focus on the problem.”
Nursing Home Numbers
DeWine explained why the state removed the data about nursing homes from its COVID-19 website.
Ohio law allows the state to give some kinds of data. But they cannot release data that is specific enough that when you combine it with other data, allows you to figure out who it refers to. He said some of the data previously posted was inaccurate.
He said the state was fixing the problem and would update the website on Wednesday.
“In addition to this, we will report death data for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities at the county level,” DeWine said. That will begin next week.
He also announced that you’ll be able to see by hospital the number of members of their healthcare staff have come down with COVID-19.”
Dr. Amy Acton said that it was alarming to see so many cases connected to nursing homes. “What is not acceptable is for folks to be left unaware.” She repeated that nursing homes are required to notify families if a patient or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19.
DeWine said it’s possible food service workers may be required to wear masks and gloves when Ohio reopens.
He wasn’t ready to commit to requiring everyone to wear masks in public but said, “It just makes sense for people to wear masks.”
He went on to say, “I know that culturally it’s not something that we’ve done. But I think it’s clearly the right thing to do. As we try to get back to work, everybody is going to have to do things they haven’t before. I would encourage everyone to wear masks. They can become a fashion statement.”