Week in Review > Week in Review 07-23-2021

Posted by on July 23rd, 2021


While a reinstatement of the statewide mask mandate is not being considered as Ohio continues to see more COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, schools should plan for “strong guidance” from the administration as children prepare to return next month, Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday. “There’s one way out of this, and that is that more people get vaccinated,” DeWine told reporters following his remarks celebrating Breeze Airways’ inaugural flight from the John Glenn International Airport in Columbus.

While Gov. Mike DeWine signed lawmakers’ prohibition on public school and university COVID vaccine mandates, students, faculty and staff will be returning to classes and campuses several weeks before the new law takes effect. Under HB244 (Lampton-White), public schools and higher education institutions cannot require anyone to take a vaccine not yet fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); COVID vaccines now widely in use are being administered under emergency use authorization. DeWine, who’s been an emphatic proponent of the vaccines, said via a spokesman he hopes forthcoming full approval from the FDA will render the new law moot. The FDA granted Friday a request for priority review of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.


Friday’s meeting of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Task Force on Best Academic Practice Models for Black Students had members continuing discussions about how to best provide education to Black students. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria said that since the last meeting of the task force, he heard about best practices in six broad areas: leadership, staff involvement and development, classroom practices and academic supports, student supports and empowerment, community and family supports and data analysis and utilization.

A federal judge set a hearing for December to consider both an injunction request and merits of the case in Hamilton County resident Daniel Regenold’s lawsuit alleging the State Board of Education abridged his free speech rights with limits on public testimony about race-related topics. Earlier this month, Judge James Graham of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted a motion from the state to dismiss claims against the State Board of Education itself, but allowed claims against individual board members, including President Laura Kohler, to proceed. Regenold filed the lawsuit in April after being denied the ability to speak in person at the April board meeting under Kohler’s policy of taking testimony on race-related topics in writing only. She instituted that policy after months’ worth of testimony responding to the board’s July 2020 resolution on racism and equity, as well as the Ohio Department of Education’s citation of the 1619 Project, a New York Times essay collection, in a newsletter for social studies teachers.

The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) is inviting states to apply to receive the second and larger installment of money provided in the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act to assist children experiencing homelessness. The second round of funding constitutes $600 million of the $800 million provided in the ARP for the Homeless Children and Youth (HCY) Fund, and USDOE said states and schools should be able to access the money before the start of the academic year. The money is meant to be used to identify homeless children and youth, provide wraparound services to address effects of the pandemic, and provide assistance to enable the children and youth to attend school and participate fully in activities, according to the federal agency.

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