DeWine Extends School Closure Order to May 1

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine today revised his closure order for all public and private schools, extending the closure to May 1.

The original order came on March 12, when DeWine ordered schools closed for three weeks. During his daily coronavirus update today, he acknowledged the closure could be extended again depending on the situation as May 1 gets closer.

“We’ll re-evaluate this the closer we get to May 1,” DeWine said.

When asked by a reporter if the order could be extended into the summer, DeWine said it’s a possibility, but wouldn’t comment on it until the closure is evaluated later.

“We just don’t know yet until we see exactly where we are,” he said. The order was made in an effort to protect children and their families.

“We have seen young people get sick and we have seen young people come down with [coronavirus],” he said. And with the number of students in a typical classroom, “You’ve got many families represented,” he said.

For now, he says school districts are going to try to get through the year with remote learning. This has some superintendents concerned that their students will fall even further behind because “not every school has the same ability to do distance learning,” DeWine said, including families living in cities and in rural areas.

“These are things that we’re going to have to try to figure out as we move forward,” he said. “How do we compensate these kids for that and give them that extra help.”

The state has received federal dollars designated for the schools, and the DeWine administration is still working to determine how the funds will be used, he said.

Some internet service providers are establishing so-called “hot spots” where families can go to download material directly to their laptops and upload content if their households don’t have adequate internet connectivity, added Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

“We are trying to compile a list for everyone so that they know where those are in their own communities,” Husted said.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.