Week in Review > Week in Review – 08/28/2020

Posted by on August 28th, 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Gov. Mike DeWine Tuesday outlined a process for schools to allow more spectators at sporting events in excess of Ohio Department of Health (ODH) orders this week, saying any such plan would still need to meet safety guidelines allowing for social distancing between family groups. The DeWine administration previously issued its order on sports, limiting the number of individuals allowed to gather at outdoor sports venues in Ohio to the lesser of 1,500 or 15 percent of the facility’s fixed seating capacity; and the lesser of 300 individuals or 15 percent of the fixed seating capacity for indoor venues. On Tuesday, DeWine said the goal of allowing a variance for schools is to have the athletes play and have the ability of family members to attend and watch them. It does not allow for spectators other than family members.

The DeWine administration on Tuesday also released a new public health order limiting “entertainment” venues to “15 percent of fixed, seated capacity.” Performing arts centers and sports venues were the first entertainment venues to be restricted to the lesser of 1,500 spectators or 15 percent fixed, seated capacity for outdoor facilities and the lesser of 300 people or 15 percent fixed, seated capacity for indoor facilities under the state’s guidelines.

The resumption of higher and K-12 education was a primary topic of Thursday’s COVID-19 update, with Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted joined by three university leaders and a school district superintendent. DeWine said an order will be issued to make sure parents get as much information as possible about positive COVID-19 cases from schools, without compromising private health information. Parents should contact schools if their child tests positive, he said, and existing mechanisms to report absences could be used.

EDUCATION

The State Board of Education of Ohio will meet virtually for a special meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 9 a.m. to discuss and amend an emergency school-age child care rule to allow Ohio Department of Education-licensed school-age child care programs to operate during remote learning hours and authorize a new, temporary, pandemic school-age child care license.

Education groups representing district and charter schools as well as businesses urged Gov. Mike DeWine and Superintendent Paolo DeMaria to join their effort to win extension of federal pandemic policies for serving school meals in more flexible ways by asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the state’s congressional delegation to extend waiver authority through the 2020-2021 school year.

As the school year begins, Mental Health America (MHA) recently unveiled its 2020 Back to School Toolkit, meant to help students, parents, and school personnel navigate the uncharted territory of COVID-19. Given the climate, MHA said it’s particularly important this year for parents, caregivers, and school personnel to know the signs that a young person is struggling with their mental health as well as for adults to take care of their own mental health needs. Download the toolkit at https://mhanational.org/back-school.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The House and Senate are accelerating plans to return to Columbus for session in September. Both chambers will now be in session next week, ahead of the mid-month sessions on their previously published schedules. The Senate will meet at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, with an if-needed session on Tuesday, Sept. 1. The House will meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday, with an if-needed session set for Wednesday.

Both the House and Senate have scheduled sessions for next week, and Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said he expects the Senate will meet at least once later in September and in October. Among the issues lawmakers will tackle is a repeal of nuclear subsidies bill HB6 (Callender-Wilkin). Obhof said he favors a complete repeal of the subsidies in the bill, though he noted there were other policy issues in the bill as well, so it likely won’t be a full repeal of HB6.

Posted by on August 28th, 2020

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