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Coronavirus: Ohio K-12 schools to finish academic year remotely

Gov. Mike DeWine speaks during a daily press conference on the coronavirus at the Ohio Statehouse Friday, April 17, 2020.
Gov. Mike DeWine speaks during a daily press conference on the coronavirus at the Ohio Statehouse Friday, April 17, 2020.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that Ohio K-12 schools will finish the school year with remote learning.

The governor explained that with the risk to students, teachers and the community to catch and spread coronavirus remote learning will help contain the virus.

No decision has been made about the 2020-21 school year or on daycares.

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One thing that teachers, school districts and the state have discussed is “blended” learning for the next school year. It would consist of a combination of remote and in-person schooling. DeWine noted that some districts may decide what works best for them and that the state would give districts flexibility in “broad parameters”.

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The governor noted that he’s particularly worried about educating students with developmental needs, health challenges, limited access to the internet and those with a limited supportive home life.

“These are kids that we need to be particularly concerned about,” DeWine said.

He also addressed the virus’ disproportionate effect on black Ohioans.

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The state created a Minority Health Strike Task Force to focus on the issue.

Previously, DeWine and Acton ordered long-term care facilities to notify residents and families of any coronavirus cases at the facility within 24 hours.

The information was posted on the state’s website last week, but taken down after they realized the data was inconsistent, the governor said.

It will be available online once that date is corrected and will be updated every Wednesday at 2 p.m.

The state will also be reporting how hospital staff who have tested for the virus.

Ohio is allowing hospitals to use private labs for coronavirus testing again.

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Previously, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued an order requiring hospitals to stop using the private labs due to a backlog in testing.

That backlog is gone, DeWine said, so the state is welcoming private labs to help with testing again.

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Acton explained that Ohio will continue to see bumps of cases as the state continues to fight the pandemic.

“These bumps will happen,” Acton said. “What’s more important is how we respond to those.”

The state is working on trace contacting and how they will look at clusters of cases. Acton said to keep those clusters under control it’s important for the state to be careful about loosening restrictions.

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“We need to go slow to go fast,” she said.

A total of 12,919 cases and 509 deaths have been reported in connection to coronavirus, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

There are 12,516 confirmed cases and 491 confirmed deaths.

Hospitalizations are at 2,653 with 798 ICU admissions.

ODH is reporting 403 probable cases and 18 probable deaths.

The state has tested 90,839 people.

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DeWine cited a spike in recent cases as a result of  mass testing, particularly at state prisons.

Ohio is continuing to look at releasing inmates who were convicted of non-violent crimes and have less than 90 days left in their sentence.

Last week, the governor announced plans to start reopening Ohio on May 1. He said the process will roll out in phases and that it is important to continue practice physical distancing and wearing a mask to prevent further spread of the virus.

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