COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A look at developments related to the coronavirus as Ohio tests for additional cases after confirming its first five.
Gov. Mike DeWine ordered schools closed for three weeks beginning Monday.
Gallipolis City and Gallia County Local school districts released separate statements about the matter via their respective websites on Thursday.
A statement from the Gallia County Local School District read:
“In light of the Governor, Mike DeWine’s announcement this afternoon, Gallia County Local Schools will close at the end of the day on Friday, March 13, 2020. School will be closed at least through April 3, 2020. More specific details regarding the closure will be sent home with students tomorrow, Friday, March 13.”
A statement from Gallipolis City School District Superintendent Craig Wright read in part:
“The Gallipolis City Schools is closing school to all students starting Monday, March 16th through April 13th. As of now, all students and staff will resume school on April 13th. This will take into account the already scheduled spring break which was intended for April 6th through April 10th. There will be no school activities and no one will be permitted to enter the buildings during this scheduled closure. These precautions have been put in place to ensure the safety of our staff, students and community. The Gallipolis City School District will release more information as it becomes available and all updates will be posted on the district’s website. Parents wishing to pick up student medication may do so at each school building on Friday, March 13th or Monday, March 16th from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m…”
The governor’s order also affects private schools. Via its Facebook page, Ohio Valley Christian School stated it would also close to be in compliance with the governor’s order.
“More information will be forthcoming as we receive additional information from the state of Ohio,” a statement from OVCS’ Facebook page read.
“We will close Monday,” OVCS Administrator Patrick O’Donnell said to the Tribune Thursday evening. “We want to provide the best possible care for our students, families, faculty and staff. I am thankful for the good people at the Gallia County Health Department. They have been communicating with us frequently as this situation has evolved.”
An email from Buckeye Hills Career Center on Thursday night stated, “Due to Governor DeWine’s directive regarding the coronavirus pandemic and safeguards, the award winning Buckeye Hills Career Center … will be closed for three weeks beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, April 3, 2020. School will resume on Monday, April 6, 2020. High School students will be provided packets to work on during the mandatory shutdown. Adult students will receive communications from their program instructors & coordinators. We will continue to provide information through Social Media, Nixle and our Website: https://www.buckeyehills.net/.”
Superintendents at Meigs, Eastern and Southern Local Schools also stated that schools will be closed beginning on Monday, March 16, meaning Friday, March 13 will be the last day of school before the extended break.
Schools in Mason County, W.Va., remain open though all public events scheduled in the district have been canceled until further notice.
On Thursday, DeWine acknowledged the disruptions it will mean for families but said it’s necessary to help prevent the spread of the virus. The announcement came as Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton issued an order banning gatherings of over 100 people. The ban is not absolute and exempts work places, religious gatherings, weddings and funerals, and other events. Numerous cancellations preceded the announcement across the state. Ohio State University canceled the annual football team scrimmage dubbed the Spring Game, scheduled for April 11, an event that regularly attracts tens of thousands of fans to Columbus. Cincinnati canceled its Findlay Market Opening Day Parade on March 26, a 100-year tradition on the Reds’ opening day. The Cleveland Orchestra canceled three concerts scheduled for this week. Schools had already canceled concerts and other school performances.
Health officials say five people in the state have tested positive for the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. Ohio is currently testing 52 people who have shown symptoms of respiratory distress and has cleared another 30 people.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
In Cuyahoga County, judges, prosecutors and the sheriff’s office have agreed to allow as many low-level offenders as possible to reach plea bargains as a means of getting them out of jail to reduce the risk of the virus spreading through the inmate population. Nearly all Ohio’s public colleges and universities are now temporarily moving to online or remote learning, as are many of the private schools. Attendance at Ohio high school postseason tournaments will be limited to relatives of athletes, the media, coaches and school administrators. Nursing home visits are sharply restricted, and multiple polling places have been moved from senior centers ahead of the March 17 primary.
The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content with the exception of the status of local school districts which was added to this report by Ohio Valley Publishing.