Week in Review > Week in Review 03-19-2021Posted by Kevin Miller on March 19th, 2021
Vaccine eligibility expanded to those age 40 and up on Friday, March 19 and will open to all Ohioans over the age of 16 starting Monday, March 29, Gov. Mike DeWine announced during a press conference at Ohio’s first mass vaccination clinic in Cleveland. The announcement puts Ohio ahead of President Joe Biden’s target for states to open vaccination to all adults by May 1, something DeWine’s office said it was on pace to beat when Biden announced it last week.
Gov. Mike DeWine continued discussion on the forthcoming expansions in vaccine eligibility Thursday, saying the state is expected to receive around 500,000 doses in the week access opens to everyone age 16 and older on Monday, March 29. Around 2.4 million Ohioans have received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, he added, and that is increasing by 40,000 to 60,000 people per day. The state is currently receiving around 400,000 doses per week, and DeWine again said they are in “a race” against new strains of the virus.
Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud signed an addendum Monday to the administration’s pandemic protocols for sports, easing quarantine requirements for school sports. Unless they develop symptoms, students will not be required to quarantine from sports and extracurricular activities when they have “incidental” exposure to COVID in the classroom.
The Senate approved emergency legislation Wednesday to give local schools more flexibility on state testing and graduation requirements amid the pandemic, and the House quickly agreed to the other chamber’s amendments. The legislation, HB67 (Koehler-Bird) now heads to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk and, because of an emergency clause, will take effect immediately upon his signature. Testing windows open next week. Earlier in the week, the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee changed the bill to, among other things, narrow the circumstances under which students can use course grades in lieu of exam scores toward graduation.
Reps. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Phil Robinson (D-Solon) presented their sponsored HB200 to the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee Tuesday, saying the bill would “fix” the state’s school report card system. Among the main changes the bill would include scrapping the “A-F” letter grade system for graded measures and returning to descriptors, with the lowest descriptor being “in need of support,” and the highest, “significantly exceeds expectations.”
The Ohio departments of higher education (ODHE) and education (ODE) have partnered for a new statewide initiative which aims to improve the number of students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Through FAFSA 21, ODHE and ODE will invest $2.85 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding for FAFSA completion projects over the next year and a half. The departments said these funds will be used to support direct intervention, data system upgrades and professional development.
Licking County officials recently joined their counterparts from Coshocton County in calling for the General Assembly to remove Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) from the chamber as he faces federal corruption charges for his handling of nuclear plant bailout 133-HB6 (Callender-Wilkin) while serving as speaker. House Republicans discussed Householder’s future Tuesday, but Speaker of the House Bob Cupp (R-Lima) said after Wednesday’s session he had no update and wouldn’t disclose details of internal caucus discussions.
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