COLUMBUS, Ohio (WANE) Ohio Governor Mike DeWine devoted much of a Tuesday news conference to the topic of the reopening of schools and how to keep students safe during a pandemic.
According to DeWine, 325 public school districts plan to open with in-person learning. That accounts for about 38 percent of the overall K-12 student population. Fifty-five public school districts plan to initially open with remote learning only and 154 districts plan to open with a combination of remote and in-person learning. DeWine could not provide a breakout of what private and parochial schools plan and not all public school districts have finalized plans.
Currently, Ohio has left the decision to individual school districts on how to approach the new school year.
Dr. Patty Manning, Chief of Staff at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital was one of three pediatricians who took part in the briefing. She said pediatricians are biased towards in-person learning and she offered four strategies people need to be aware of:
- Everyone should wear a mask
- Distancing – 6 feet is best, 3 feet is acceptable
- Hand hygiene
- Cleaning surfaces
As for concerns about students riding buses, Dr. Manning said that if they face forward, are wearing masks, practice proper hygiene and aren’t sick, they will be safe.
As for crowded hallways, they are not optimal and not just for stopping the spread of COVID. Ideally schedules should be staggered so kids shouldn’t be packed together. Duration is key and if students are wearing masks, it lowers the probability of contracting COVID.