Ohio schools to close for 3 weeks during coronavirus ‘crisis;’ Gov. DeWine bans gatherings of over 100 people

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks at a news conference at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday,...
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks at a news conference at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, to announce impacts on the Arnold Sports Festival of the coronavirus. DeWine and organizers of the annual Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus announced Tuesday that only athletes will be allowed at most of the event scheduled to begin Thursday because of the threat posed by the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth)(Julie Carr Smyth | AP)
Updated: Mar. 12, 2020 at 10:20 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOIO) - Gov. Mike DeWine announced several statewide orders that will significantly impact the lives of Ohio residents.

Effective at the end of class on Monday, March 16, all Ohio public and private schools will be closed for three weeks through at least April 3.

Each school will decide if remote and online teaching will be practiced during the three weeks, the Governor said.

Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon told 19 News that the district is ready for the multiple challenges of closing schools for 3 weeks.

“We have up to 15 days of content we can send home or post for students to print at libraries to keep them actively engaged,” Gordon said, “And we have applied for an emergency food program where students could come and pick up sacked breakfast and sacked lunch.”

Willoughby-Eastlake Superintendent Steve Thompson said students in the district will continue to work.

“Obviously we want to be prudent with taxpayer money and make sure we are doing what is in the best interest of our kids which is to not give them a 3 week vacation,” Thompson said.

A review will be made before reopening any schools, meaning the closures could extend past the three-week mark.

The Governor’s announcement came on Thursday during a daily briefing, which also included an order banning mass gatherings of more than 100 people in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“These orders would not have been issued if this was an ordinary time," DeWine noted. "This is not an ordinary time.”

A timeline for how long the ban on public gatherings will last has not been established, but DeWine said it will be enforced.

“We are in a crisis situation now,” said Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health.

Gov. Mike DeWine is providing an update on the current number of coronavirus cases in Ohio and how many other individuals are under investigation for a possible infection during a briefing on Thursday. https://bit.ly/3aNer3e

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Thursday, March 12, 2020

As of Thursday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health said five people have tested positive for coronavirus, but Gov. DeWine said he was told by medical experts that the number is likely to double in a week’s timespan.

“There’s going to be a light at the end, but it’s going to get darker,” DeWine described.

All five patients who tested positive are in their 50s.

  • 1 patient from Trumbull County
  • 1 patient from Stark County
  • 3 patients from Cuyahoga County

The amount of persons under investigation more than doubled in one day to 52 patients being tested for possible coronavirus infection, according to health officials.

“Some of the early modeling is suggesting a late-April, early-May peak to this,” Acton said.

In addition to the orders closing schools and shutting down public gatherings, DeWine also recommended increased the limit of visitations to psychiatric hospitals and reducing visits to Department of Children and Family Services facilities.

The order prohibiting specific mass gatherings will not prevent voters from casting a ballot on Tuesday, March 17, but some polling places have been relocated.

DeWine also urged state agencies to allow employees to work from home if possible.

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