CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled the state’s science-backed strategy for reopening schools for the 2020-21 academic year during Thursday’s briefing in Columbus.
The governor’s announcement comes during a week of above-average COVID-19 positive tests.
Schools statewide have been preparing to continue remote learning if necessary for the next year due to challenges from COVID-19.
“While teachers and students did outstanding with distance learning, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends students be physically present in school as much as possible,” Gov. DeWine said, who has repeatedly emphasized the importance of children physically returning to classrooms in the fall. “To keep schools open, our guidelines are designed to create the safest environment possible for our students and staff.”
Guidelines that each of the more than 600 Ohio school districts must follow in the fall include:
- Vigilantly assess for COVID-19 symptoms
- Wash and sanitize hands regularly
- Thoroughly clean and sanitize school surfaces regularly
- Practice social distancing
- Schools must develop a face covering policy
School staff members will be required to wear a face covering or shield, just as is outlined for employees under the Responsible RestartOhio plan.
Gov. DeWine said he is also strongly recommending that students in third grade and higher wear face masks.
Other recommendations made by the governor during Thursday’s briefing included staggering school lunch times or eating in the classroom.
It will be up to each school district to develop an individual plan based on Gov. DeWine’s guidelines for reopening in the fall.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is provided.