The state is cancelling all in-person education at K-12 schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. The move to finish the school year with remote education was announced by Gov. Mike DeWine with two reasons in mind.
DeWine says students will complete the school year through virtual learning, saying coronavirus still poses too much of a health threat to students, teachers, staff, and the rest of the community.
"The reason that the school was shut before. The physical locations of the school was because of our concern about people going in, kids going in and then going back and forth, back into their families and the spread that occurs because of that," says DeWine.
Through conversations with education experts, DeWine added that bringing the kids back to in-person education also posed a continuity challenge and that it would be best to finish the short amount of time left in the school year, at home.
No word yet on how or if in-person education will resume in the fall. DeWine says school administrators and education leaders must keep working on plans for what the future of K-12 learning will look like as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
DeWine said during his daily press briefing that he would like school leaders to consider the needs of four groups of children as they work on potential plans for the next school year.
- Children with special developmental needs
- Children with health challenges
- Children with no/limited internet access
- Children without supportive home life
The state is still working on plans to begin what DeWine calls a "slow and gradual" reopening of businesses in May. Testing for COVID-19 will be a major component that plan, but increasing testing numbers has been a big challenge for the state since the start of the pandemic.
Watch: Gov. Mike DeWine asked about Harvard study on COVID-19 testing
Researchers from Harvard University say, in order to reopen businesses, states should conduct at least 152 tests per 100,000 people a day. Studies show Ohio currently tests 22 people per 100,000 people a day.
DeWine says hospitals have the ability to conduct more tests, but the only thing they're missing is reagent. He says there are companies that can make the reagent but they're waiting for FDA approval.
"So that the supply chain of reagent, hospitals don't have to worry about that supply chain and that they know that they can run an unlimited number or at least that they can run up to capacity, that's going to make a big difference," says DeWine.
He says companies and manufacturers have already answered the call by making more swabs and other components for the tests.
Health experts have said states need expanded testing in order to identify and contain flare ups.