Ohio's Schools Will Remain Closed Until At Least May 1; Coronavirus Update March 30, 2020
Updated: 4:15 a.m., Tuesday, March 31, 2020
The coronavirus has killed 39 people in Ohio and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 1,933, state health officials announced Monday.
The state also said that 475 people are hospitalized, with 163 admitted to the intensive care unit.
As Ohio students begin their third week of an “extended spring break,” Gov. Mike DeWine also announced Monday that Ohio’s K-12 schools will remain closed through May 1. On March 12, DeWine issued the original order that closed schools until April 3.
“We want to take this kind of one chunk at a time, because we don't know exactly where we're going to be, but it's clear that we're not going to be back in the classroom before May 1. And so we want to signal to everybody today you can plan," DeWine said.
Online learning appears to be working in districts, DeWine said, but he admitted some superintendents say they're concerned that their students are going to be further behind because not all districts have the same ability to do distance learning.
The governor added that in-person classes may be canceled for the rest of the year at some point. Last week state lawmakers approved waiving required state testing for this academic year, which could open the door to closing school until the fall.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Columbus-based science and technology company Battelle the green light to sterilize as many as 80,000 used N95 surgical masks, DeWine said.
“This is a major breakthrough for us in Ohio,” DeWine said. “But it’s also something where we’re taking Ohio technology and helping other states.”
A Battelle machine is on the way to New York, and the company plans to help sterilize masks elsewhere in the country as well, the governor said.
Statehouse News Bureau correspondent Karen Kasler contributed to this report.