Week in Review > Week in Review 10-01-2021

Posted by on October 01st, 2021

FY22-23 BUDGET

Ohio is working to expand access to computer science (CS) education in schools, and part of that involves adding more qualified teachers. Provisions in the FY22-23 state budget, HB110 (Oelslager), help to address this issue. The “most immediate” provision, according to Code.org Advocacy Coalition President Katie Hendrickson, is a two-year waiver extension allowing teachers who have completed approved professional development but don’t have a full certification to keep teaching CS. Without that, teachers trained by Code.org — a nationally focused nonprofit — and other providers couldn’t continue to offer CS classes.

CORONAVIRUS

Legislation to limit businesses’ and schools’ ability to mandate COVID-19 vaccination got taken off the fast track Wednesday, as House leaders said they wanted to consider new ideas and reach consensus following a large coalition of business and health care organizations’ opposition to the bill’s passage.

The House Health Committee passed HB435 (Carfagna-Seitz) Tuesday on its first hearing, and it was scheduled for a floor vote Wednesday, but after a 90-minute session delay for caucus deliberations, Republicans instead sent it back to the House Rules and Reference Committee. The bill only allows mandates for vaccines with full FDA approval, rather than emergency use authorization, and requires that employers and schools offer exemptions for medical reasons, natural immunity derived from a past infection with COVID-19, or reasons of conscience, including religious beliefs. The latter exemption simply requires a written statement from the individual seeking it. The bill includes a few exceptions, including for those working in children’s hospitals, where the majority of patients cannot be vaccinated for lack of an approved product for those under the age of 12.

While hospitals are already overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients across the state, the Cleveland Clinic is expecting the situation to get worse before it gets better. “Our forecast models predict our highest volumes of COVID-19 patients will come in the next several weeks, as this wave peaks in Northern Ohio,” Cleveland Clinic said Monday in a statement on its website.

EDUCATION

Effective Saturday, Sept. 25, Stephanie Siddens became interim superintendent of the Ohio Department of Education, following Superintendent Paolo DeMaria’s retirement Friday. The State Board of Education had appointed Siddens as interim leader of the department in August, after Deputy Superintendent John Richard, the previously designated interim superintendent, announced he will leave effective Oct. 8.

Current and former elected members of the State Board of Education and associations representing local district leaders urged the House Government Oversight Committee Tuesday to pass legislation shrinking the board to include only its elected membership, phasing out the sizable minority of board seats filled by appointment of the governor. Under HB298 (Bird-J. Miller), the eight appointed seats would be eliminated as the current members’ terms expire or they leave for other reasons, eventually leaving the board with 11 elected members. Proponents argued an all-elected board would be more accountable to the public.

Posted by on October 01st, 2021

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