More Than 95 Percent of Ohio Schools Committed to Reopen for In-Person Learning by March 1


Nearly all of Ohio’s schools have committed to returning to some form of in-person learning by March 1, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said on Tuesday.

“We are working directly with schools to determine what the vaccination of school personnel looks like locally,” the governor said in a tweet. “As of today, 96% of public school districts have committed to returning to school at least partially in-person by March 1st.”

Ohio schools have been closed since March 16 due to the coronavirus, per an order from DeWine. After an extension of the order through May 1, the governor then announced schools would stay closed for in-person learning through the end of the school year.

Schools were required to have some form of in-person learning in order for adult staff to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination, according to the Ohio Department of Education. As part of vaccination phase 1B, staff members of K-12 schools will be eligible to receive the vaccine the week of February 1.

In-person learning can be either a full return to in-person teaching or a mix of online and in-person instruction, the Ohio DOE said.

The Ohio Federation of Teachers expressed concern about the March 1 deadline, saying that it worries the vaccine will not be widely enough administered at that point to reopen schools safely.

“We are concerned that the mandate will still pressure some districts into reopening before they are ready. We also know that many members are concerned about their school district making a commitment that does not seem to be reasonable or safe,” the federation said in a statement. “We are also concerned that if the Governor announces that all schools will re-open on March 1, parents and students will be planning on that happening. The deadline is creating unrealistic expectations.”

The union called for teachers to contact the governor’s office to push for the March 1 deadline to be a goal rather than a mandate.

“The bottom line is that withholding the vaccine should not be used as a threat to get schools to open,” the union said. “We believe that the Governor should be working with educators to determine safe opening conditions and then trusting educators to make the decision about when those conditions have been met.”

As of Tuesday, more than 456,000 Ohioans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health.

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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.









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