Week in Review > Week in Review 05-20-2022

Posted by on May 20th, 2022


Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff held the first COVID-19 briefing in “a few weeks” Wednesday, saying conditions have been “fairly stable” but cases are rising in Ohio and the U.S. due to Omicron subvariants. Vanderhoff contrasted the currently rising numbers to those of January, when the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) reported a peak of 6,700 people hospitalized with COVID-19. The latest OHA numbers show 614 hospitalized patients, and Vanderhoff said that includes many who tested positive but are in the hospital for other reasons. The latest CDC map has all but one Ohio county at the low transmission category, with Lawrence County at the medium level.

Ohio had nearly 20,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in the seven days ending Thursday, according to the ODH, rising from 15,970 in the period ending May 12 to 19,536 through May 19. There were 473 new hospitalizations and 32 ICU admissions, compared to 353 and 36 in ODH’s May 12 update. The number of reported deaths fell from 57 to 40 for the week. In total, Ohio has seen 2.74 million cases, 116,307 hospitalizations, 13,566 ICU admissions and 38,590 deaths. According to the Ohio Hospital Association, there are currently 640 hospital patients and 79 ICU patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. Those numbers increased from 522 and 68 on May 12.


Several Ohio families who use EdChoice scholarships to send their children to private schools are now formal parties to litigation filed by several school districts and public school families to challenge the constitutionality of the state voucher program. Judge Jaiza Page of Franklin County Common Pleas Court issued an order Thursday, May 12 to grant two motions to intervene by groups of families, one filed in January, one in March.

Ohio high school athletes are still unable to sign endorsement deals without losing their amateur status. Member schools of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) voted 538 to 254 against a proposal that would have allowed high school athletes to financially benefit from their name, image and likeness (NIL). Schools voted from May 1 through May 16. The NIL proposal mirrored recent changes made at the collegiate level and would have allowed student-athletes to sign endorsement agreements so long as their teams, schools and/or the OHSAA logo were not used; the endorsements did not happen on school property or in school uniform; and provided there were no endorsements with companies that do not support the mission of education-based athletics, such as gambling, alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

The Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee turned legislation providing school districts continued flexibility on qualifications for substitute teachers into an education omnibus Tuesday, adopting several amendments with more on tap next week. Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), chair of the committee, said HB583 (Bird-Jones) might also be amended to incorporate his bill on tutoring for pandemic learning recovery, SB306 (Brenner), which also was heard and amended in the committee Tuesday. The committee adopted an omnibus amendment to HB583 with various changes, as well as a standalone amendment revising implementation of last session’s dyslexia effort, 133-HB436 (Baldridge). Under the dyslexia amendment, mandated screenings that were to begin in the coming school year will be delayed a year, although districts that are ready to administer them will be permitted to do so. The amendment also addresses schools’ and districts’ requirement to follow statutory provisions outlined in the dyslexia guidebook, recently developed by the Ohio Dyslexia Committee (ODC) and adopted by the State Board of Education.

A bill requiring public and nonpublic schools and public colleges participating in the College Credit Plus Program to post course curricula and other related information online got its first hearing in the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee Tuesday. Rep. Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) stressed in sponsor testimony for HB529 (Hillyer-Roemer) that the bill is not an attempt to aid or encourage efforts of censorship in schools, nor does it deal directly with other controversial education legislation, such as bills dealing with critical race theory or sex education. Roemer and fellow sponsor Rep. Brett Hillyer (R-Dennison) did say, however, the legislation was needed in light of increasingly “heated” altercations at school board meetings in many communities.

Members of the House Technology and Innovation Committee took time Wednesday to hear from a slew of organizations and state partners from around Ohio about efforts to increase STEM education among Ohio students. Committee Chair Rep. Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) said he had invited the presenters to shed light on some of the discussions the committee has been having on how to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and access in the state as well as increase the STEM workforce. Fraizer’s own HB577 (Fraizer-Holmes), establishing the Ohio STEM Gateway Program under the College Credit Plus Program, is aimed at growing the STEM workforce. Among the presenters was Kelly Gaier Evans, director of the Ohio STEM Learning Network, a network managed as a public/private partnership between Battelle and Ohio.

Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday announced $4.8 million in grants to 98 Ohio schools for safety and security updates at their buildings. The 98 schools span 27 counties. Funds will be used to cover expenses like security cameras, public address systems, automatic door locks and visitor badging systems. The funding comes from Ohio’s K-12 School Safety Grant Program, which is administered by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) in partnership with the Ohio School Safety Center. The program was funded in the capital appropriations bill, 133-SB310 (Dolan).

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