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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Morning Headlines: DeWine Mulls Statewide Mask Order; More UA Layoffs Hinge on Faculty Contract

photo of dewine
In an NBC interview Sunday, DeWine said that he is still considering a statewide mask mandate.

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, July 20:

  • DeWine: Mask order may cover 'a lot more counties' this week
  • Many nursing homes likely aren't ready for outdoor visits
  • More UA layoffs hinge on faculty union contract
  • Criminal jury trials resume in Stark County 
  • EPA administrator to announce new Lake Erie clean up initiative
  • Indians show support for social justice

DeWine: Mask order may cover 'a lot more counties' this week
Gov. Mike DeWine says an order requiring masks to be worn in public may include “a lot more counties” this week as COVID-19 continues to spread in the state. DeWine said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he is still considering a statewide mask mandate. Last week he ordered Ohio residents in 19 counties including almost 60% of the population to wear a mask in public. Ohio has recorded just under 75,000 total coronavirus cases, with 1,100 reported on Sunday. There were 42 confirmed deaths, bringing the total to just over 3,100.

Many nursing homes not yet ready for outdoor visitations
Today is the day nursing homes in Ohio are allowed to begin outdoor visitation, but many facilities aren't likely ready. Part of the safety standards required for a skilled nursing facility to have visits is a state order requiring testing of all staff by the Ohio National Guard. Not all facilities will have the testing done by today, and results could take another week or two. Gov. Mike DeWine announced on June 29 that nursing homes that meet all safety standards may begin outdoor visitation on July 20.

More UA layoffs hinge on faculty union contrfact
University of Akron's president says more job cuts could be coming if the faculty union rejects a proposed contract. In a video released on Friday, Gary Miller said if the contract is not approved, the university would have to invoke a clause in the existing union contract that allows for the dismissal of faculty due to urgent circumstances. The board of trustees last week voted to lay off 178 employees, including 96 union faculty members. The deal for 500 union members includes pay cuts and increased health care premiums. It would run through next year. The Akron chapter of American Association of University Professors must vote on the deal by Aug. 3.

Criminal jury trials resume in Stark County 
Stark County Common Pleas Court is resuming criminal jury trials today for the first time since March. The Canton Repository reports 13 homicide cases — including nine defendants charged with murder or aggravated murder — are awaiting jury trial. Jury selection temporarily will occur off-site to allow for social distancing. Other safety measures include a custom-made wood frame for the jury box featuring Plexiglas dividers, small plastic bags placed over microphones at the witness stand, and disinfecting and cleaning the courtroom after every use.

EPA administrator to announce new Lake Erie clean up initiative
The administrator of the EPA will visit Ohio this week to announce details about a grant to clean up Lake Erie. Andrew Wheeler is set to announce the Trash-Free Great Lakes Grant Program will provide $2 million as part of the annual Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The program, announced last year in Cleveland, has so far given out about $500,000 to install a trash collector along a river in Milwaukee. The grants also support trash and litter education projects. In addition to that announcement Tuesday in Lakewood, Wheeler will visit Toledo area on Monday to announce details about grants and projects around the agriculture runoff and trash in the Maumee River basin. He's set to visit the Gorge Dam in Akron on Tuesday.

Indians show support for social justice
The Cleveland Indians made a very public show of support for social justice before their 5-3 exhibition win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Indians stood with their right hands over their hearts and their left hands on the right shoulder of their teammates during the national anthem. Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor says the display was a sign of support for social justice. Lindor says the team held a lengthy meeting about what to do and came up with a plan they believe helps call attention to the situation without being disrespectful to the American flag.

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J. Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.