Week in Review > Week in Review 05-21-2021

Posted by on May 21st, 2021

ATTORNEY GENERAL

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office announced Monday it is now accepting applications for the Teen Ambassador Board. The board includes high school juniors and seniors from public school districts and community schools, including online schools; private schools; and home schools. The program seeks to provide Ohio’s future leaders with an inside look at state law and government. High schoolers who will be juniors or seniors during the 2021-22 academic year are eligible to apply. The student application, which can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y7upcxcj, is due Friday, June 25.

CORONAVIRUS

The state’s new Vax-a-Million program requires vaccinated individuals to sign up to participate, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud and Ohio Lottery Executive Director Pat McDonald announced Monday. Permanent Ohio residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can sign up by visiting www.ohiovaxamillion.com or by calling 1-833-427-5634. The first winner will be announced Wednesday, May 26.

Vaccinations for Ohioans age 16 and older increased by over 28 percent during the weekend following the “Vax-a-Million” announcement, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) announced Thursday, reversing a 25 percent decline the previous weekend. May 14-16 represented the highest number of vaccinations for a Friday, Saturday and Sunday in four weeks, ODH said. Numbers are increasing for all age groups except those 80 and above who already had an existing high rate of vaccination.

State health orders have been revised in light of new CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask in most settings, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday, though businesses will still have the right to require they be worn by customers and employees. The CDC guidance released Thursday listed a new range of indoor and outdoor activities that can be safely performed by those who are fully vaccinated, including indoor dining, worship services and high-intensity exercise. Full vaccination is achieved two weeks after either a Johnson & Johnson shot or a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

The CDC also said in its latest update that those who are fully vaccinated do not need to be tested or self-quarantine before or after travel within the U.S. but should monitor local conditions before traveling outside the country. They do not need to isolate or be tested after proximity to someone with the virus either, unless they show symptoms or work in a detention facility or homeless shelter. The CDC further noted that resumption of unmasked activities can be done “except where required” by federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, including business and workplace guidance.

The state plan to lift almost all health orders, including mask requirements for those who have not been vaccinated, remains in place for June 2, but DeWine said again that this gives time for people to receive the vaccine before then. He also noted that not all Ohioans are eligible yet, and said those who have not been vaccinated should continue to wear masks.

Individuals in K-12 school buildings and child care facilities will continue to be required to wear facial coverings regardless of vaccination status until all health orders are completely lifted on Wednesday, June 2, DeWine said during a coronavirus briefing on Monday.

EDUCATION

A bipartisan duo of House members proposed legislation this week to return the State Board of Education to a body of elected members only, rather than the current hybrid of elected members and gubernatorial appointees. Currently, 11 of 19 board members are elected to represent districts that each comprise three Senate districts. The remaining eight are appointed by the governor’s office on a staggered cycle, with four appointed seats coming up for reappointment every two years. Under HB298, sponsored by Reps. Adam Bird (R-New Richmond) and Joe Miller (D-Amherst), appointed seats would be eliminated as members’ terms expire, eventually taking the board back to 11 members.

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) approved guidelines for a new school safety grant program at its Thursday meeting. Created in last General Assembly’s capital appropriations bill, 133-SB310 (Dolan), the $5 million program will distribute competitive reimbursement grants of up to $100,000 to individual K-12 public schools for various safety updates such as cameras, panic buttons, automatic door locks, and visitor badging systems. Schools will need to apply for the grant, and as part of the application process, will go through a “vulnerability assessment” conducted by local law enforcement that will help determine how the grants are doled out, depending on how closely the assessment recommendations match a school’s application.

Posted by on May 21st, 2021

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