Ohio, Kentucky schools will not reopen for remainder of school year

Virus Outbreak Ohio
Posted at 2:05 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 19:11:18-04

Ohio and Kentucky schools will not return to in-person classes for the remainder of the school year, according to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and a tweet from the Kentucky Department of Education.

Governor Mike DeWine said during his Monday afternoon press conference that Ohio schools will continue to educate students remotely for the remainder of the school year. The Kentucky Department of Education's decision came after a meeting with Gov. Andy Beshear, according to the tweet.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb last month ordered schools closed in his state until May 1 at the earliest.

DeWine said his decision for Ohio schools was made primarily out of safety for students, teachers, parents and other faculty. Although younger people have not been endangered by COVID-19 on a large scale, DeWine said, they can still be asymptomatic carriers, possibly increasing the spread of the virus if schools re-open too early.

"We know that, statistically, unless a child has a specific medical problem, the fatality rate is exceedingly low among young people," said DeWine. "But we also know that young people are carriers."

He also said the future is still unclear and no decisions have been made yet about schooling in the fall. He said schools are already planning for a fall that could adapt to different situations, including a "blended system," combining some in-person classes and distance learning to continue social distancing practices as needed.

In response to a question later in the press conference, DeWine also said there is currently no plan to reopen daycare and other types of childcare facilities at this time, despite the possibility of Ohioans gradually returning to work in the coming weeks.

"The same reason that we didn’t want schools meeting in person, it's the same in regard to daycare," said DeWine. "[It's] a number of kids together, then have them going back to their respective homes, which is a perfect recipe for spread."

Daycares and childcare facilities allowed to open under stringent qualifications in order to help crucial front-line healthcare workers will still be allowed to operate, but DeWine said he is still uncomfortable relaxing those rules or opening more facilities.

Beshear was expected to make his announcement during his daily 5 p.m. briefing.