Week in Review - 05/01/2020

Week in Review - 05/01/2020

CORONAVIRUS

Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily coronavirus briefings for the week featured details for the first time on rules and deadlines for businesses previously deemed non-essential to begin reopening, though he quickly backtracked on one key element--cloth masks or coverings. On Monday he rolled out a “no mask, no work, no service, no exception” protocol, but on Tuesday said it would only be required for employees, with several exceptions for health or other reasons, while customers would be recommended to wear them. The schedule of openings included health care procedures not requiring an overnight hospital stay on Friday, May 1; manufacturing, distribution, construction and general office work on Monday, May 4; and consumer, retail and service businesses on Tuesday, May 12. House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) blasted DeWine’s retail opening deadline, saying the administration was “assisting in the demise of many great small businesses” with rules that allowed big-box retailers to remain open while smaller shops closed. Cases of the virus over the week increased from 15,169 cases and 690 deaths on Friday, April 24 to 18,027 and 975, respectively on Thursday, April 30.


EDUCATION

After the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recommended to Ohio school district superintendents that graduation ceremonies and other end-of-year commemorative events be held virtually, Sen. Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City) pushed back against ODE and called for local control. Later, ODE and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued the following suggestions for local schools and health departments when considering graduation ceremonies: 


- Virtual graduation ceremonies are the most highly recommended. 


- Drive-in ceremonies where students drive to a designated location at a designated time to get their diplomas are the second-best option. 


- Outdoor ceremonies with 10 people or fewer while engaging in physical distancing are the third-best option.


The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) published updates Friday on how to address Ohio's standing requirements on minimum annual instructional hours for schools. While lawmakers waived restrictions on how much brick-and-mortar schools can rely on distance learning to meet those rules via HB197 (Merrin-Powell), they did not waive the underlying mandate to provide between 455 and 1,001 hours of instruction, depending on the age of the students, the agency noted.


Preliminary results show voters across Ohio approved 63 of 99 local school funding issues on the ballot in Ohio's protracted 2020 spring primary election, according to the Ohio School Boards Association's (OSBA) levy results database. The 64 percent approval rate for school funding issues marked a substantial decline from last year's primary election, when 81 of 104 issues won approval, a 78 percent passage rate, according to OSBA. Renewal requests fared the best, with 93 percent passing. Only 38 percent of new funding requests were approved, with 20 of 53 passing, down from a 60 percent passage rate in the 2019 primary.