Week in Review > Week in Review 02-25-2022

Posted by on February 25th, 2022

CORONAVIRUS

Ohio is continuing to see downward trends in its COVID-19 numbers as it nears the second anniversary of the first reported cases, but Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Thursday that people should make decisions based on spread in their area. Ten counties are now below the rate of 100 cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks, which the CDC uses to measure “high” transmission. The statewide rate is 160.7 as of Thursday, and Vanderhoff noted that no county has fallen back below 50 cases and a “substantial” transmission category. He said this threshold would likely be reached soon, however. The state has gone from days with over 20,000 new cases during January to a consecutive eight days below 2,000. On Thursday, ODH reported 1,321 new cases, 151 hospitalizations and 17 ICU admissions. The latest 21-day averages are 2,307 cases, 165 hospitalizations and 17 ICU admissions. The Ohio Hospital Association reported 1,264 active COVID hospitalizations and 249 ICU admissions through Thursday.

EDUCATION

Nearly half of school superintendents responding to a national survey said they’re thinking about leaving their jobs amid the stresses of political battles. In the survey from the Education Advisory Board, which offers data, research and other services to schools and higher education institutions, 80 percent of superintendents surveyed said “managing politically divisive conversations” is now the most challenging part of the job. The survey drew 141 responses from superintendents in 32 states, including Ohio, from December to early February. Rural district superintendents were the most likely to respond, making up 55 percent of respondents, followed by suburban (34 percent) and urban (11 percent).

A Franklin County judge overseeing assets of the defunct Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) has agreed to pull the plug on the servers holding the former online charter school’s data. The Ohio Department of Education and Auditor Keith Faber’s office did not object to ending a contract with a technology vendor to preserve the servers, the attorney overseeing school affairs on the court’s behalf told Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook in a motion requesting termination of the contract. Faber’s office is working to complete the final audit of ECOT.

Ohio Dyslexia Committee (ODC) Chair Mike McGovern of the International Dyslexia Association proposed Tuesday that members of his committee and members of the State Board of Education’s (SBOE) Teaching, Leading, and Learning (TLL) Committee meet to discuss the upcoming¬†Ohio Dyslexia Guidebook. The ODC, compiled of experts on dyslexia, was created under 133-HB436 (Baldridge) and charged with creating a guidebook focused on the best practices and methods for screening and teaching children with dyslexia or children displaying dyslexic characteristics. However, the guidebook has been the source of confusion and some tension at the SBOE, with members voicing uncertainty about what exactly their role is in approving the guidebook, which much first be approved by TLL and then the full board. Members have also expressed concerns about the financial toll to districts and teachers and suggested the guidebook could be perceived as “insulting” to teachers.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) and Capitol Square Foundation announced applications are open now through 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28 for school transportation grants to help offset school field trips to the Ohio Statehouse. The grants are based on one-way mileage from a visiting school to Columbus. CSRAB will use a random number generator to select winning schools. Eleven grants will be awarded in each of three categories: $200 grants for up to 50 miles of travel distance; $300 for 51 to 100 miles; and $400 for more than 100 miles. Any Ohio school that receives state funding is eligible to apply, but grants are limited to trips by fourth through 12th grade students in the current academic year. Only one grant per school can be awarded, regardless of how many students or buses will be visiting. Only online applications will be accepted, and they must be submitted by an authorized teacher or administrator. More information is at http://ohiostatehouse.org/visit/school-and-group-tours/school-bus-transportation-grant-program.

REDISTRICTING/REAPPORTIONMENT

The Ohio Redistricting Commission Thursday evening adopted a third version of the General Assembly map plan on a 4-3 vote with Auditor Keith Faber joining Democrats in voting against it, making it another four-year map that will head to the Ohio Supreme Court for approval. The new plan, which Republicans said would favor their party in 54 seats in the House and 18 seats in the Senate, was introduced by Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) Thursday afternoon. The plan did not get uploaded to the commission’s website until shortly before 5 p.m., and the commission voted for it within a couple of hours after that.

The commission’s actions came after Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor earlier Thursday ordered the members of the commission to appear before the Court on Tuesday, March 1 at 10 a.m., to explain in-person why they did not meet the Court’s Feb. 17 deadline for adopting a new General Assembly map. The Court also said the members can be accompanied by their counsel and that no continuances will be granted. Justices Sharon Kennedy and Pat Fischer filed separate letters with the Court noting their dissent with the order.

Posted by on February 25th, 2022

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