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Guidelines for reopening Ohio schools expected in coming days

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to release details this week about his plans for the school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

DeWine and then-director of the Ohio Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton closed K-12 school buildings on March 16 to slow the spread of COVID-19. Educators, students and their parents were forced to adjust to distance learning, while poorer districts attempted to get computers and internet access to children.

In early June, the governor said the state will issue broad health perimeters, but a lot of discretion will be left to individual school districts. He said the whole plan requires flexibility. Each school system can determine its first day of class.

DeWine also hinted to a “blended” teaching system, which would alternate at-home and in-class instruction.

The reopening guidelines for the state’s day cares can give us some insight into what we may see for K-12 schools. Mandatory protocols for childcare facilities include limiting class sizes; handwashing before entering the classroom; temperature checks for all staff, children and guests; and handwashing before leaving for the day.

Officials with Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools are considering three options: remote learning for students with medical issues, reopening with all students and using enhanced cleaning protocols, and alternating class space.

North Ridgeville City Schools decided to make virtual learning available in the fall.

“Twenty-five percent of parents weren’t comfortable with having their kids in the classroom, 35 percent of parents aren’t comfortable with students eating in a lunchroom, and you find that same number generally riding the bus as well,” said David Pritt, NRCS director of curriculum and instruction.

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