Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced prevention guidance for Ohio K-12 schools to reopen in the fall.
The guidelines are designed to create a safe environment for students and staff, he said. The guidelines are as follow:
- Symptoms must be vigilantly assessed daily. If a student or staff member has a temperature above 100 degrees or any COVID-19 symptoms, they must stay home.
- Schools must provide opportunities for students and staff to wash their hands throughout the day.
- Surfaces should thoroughly be cleaned and sanitized throughout the day.
- Schools should strive to keep a 6 feet distance as often as possible.
- Schools must develop a face covering policy. School staff must wear face coverings unless unsafe or distracts from the learning process. Third graders and up should wear a face mask.
DeWine said his administration is aware that to open schools safely, there will be additional expenses which the schools will be responsible for.
“I intend to work with the general assembly with the four leaders to come up with a plan to give schools some assistance and frankly, to take some money from the CARES Act dollars,” he said. “We do not anticipate it’s going to be enough to take care of all the things that are taking place and the schools are doing, but we want to make sure the schools know that this money is in fact coming.”
He noted that school officials and students did “outstanding” with distance learning, though the American Academy of Pediatricians strongly recommends student be physically present in school as much as possible.
Dr. Chris Peltier, president elect of American Academy of Pediatricians – Ohio Chapter, recognized parents are concerned about sending their students back to school. However, he noted not sending students back can do more harm.
He said that national child health experts have found that there is more harm to not being physically located in schools.
“During March and April, there was a 65% decrease in depression screens that were completed in pediatric offices for adolescence,” he said. “Not only were children being quarantined, they weren’t being seen by their pediatrician, they weren’t being seen in schools and they very well may have missed kids developing depression and anxiety.
“Kids were also missing out on teachers and school aids to address concerns for physical or sexual abuse, developmental delays and substance abuse.”
Vaccinations in pediatrician offices also decreased during March and April, Peltier said.
“Your pediatrician offices are open, they’re safe,” he said. “We’ve all done various things to make them safe … make sure you’re staying current with your pediatricians and vaccines.”
The Ohio State Athletic Association is also continuing to require yearly sports physically exams.