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Coronavirus In Ohio: DeWine Expects Students Back In Classrooms This Fall

An empty elementary school classroom in Westerville.
Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio
An empty elementary school classroom in Westerville. Classrooms will likely have to be reconfigured if students will return to school buildings for the 2020-21 school year.

Ohio’s K-12 schools are winding down their remote classes to end this unusual year. Gov. Mike DeWine says he and school leaders are making plans for returning to in-person classes after the summer break.

Ohio was the first state in the country to close K-12 schools, on March 11. That started as a three-week shutdown before being extended to May 1. Later, in-person classes were canceled for the rest of the school year.

While the future is still uncertain, right now the plan is for students to return to school buildings and classrooms in August, the governor said in an interview for "The State of Ohio," which will air later this week. He said he discussed it with a group of superintendents last week.

“They're all planning to go back in the fall. What I've asked them all to do is to kind of come up with their plans, their best practices," DeWine said.

The Ohio Department of Education has a draft plan that includes required face masks for students and school personnel, hand sanitizing stations, no visitors, PPE for nurses and daily at-home temperature checks. The plan also suggests possible scheduling options such as half-days or classroom days alternating with days for learning at home.

The governor said they're trying to develop plans for schools that also minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

"Inherently, when you put that many kids together, you're going to get spread," DeWine said. "But there's ways of doing it where people are very careful. And so that's what schools are doing. They're planning on that now. We're going to just have to see where we are with this virus.”