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Some K-12 Schools Throughout Ohio Are Making Changes Because of COVID-19 Spread

 Tom Gibbs, superintendent of Athens City School District
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
Tom Gibbs, superintendent of Athens City School District, says his district is short on bus drivers as the coronavirus spreads throughout the community. The district has closed schools to give the drivers time to recover from COVID-19.

Most of Ohio’s K-12 schools have only been in class for a few days, but already there are signs COVID-19 might be causing problems for some of them.

Students in the Athens City School Districtrely on 18 bus drivers. But Athens Superintendent Tom Gibbs says the district doesn’t have enough drivers to operate.

“We now have five drivers that have test positive for COVID, and we have a 6th that is a close contact and is in quarantine," Gibbs said.

Gibbs said he didn’t have any choice but to close schools this week to give the drivers time to recover. Some other school districts throughout the state are also closing for a while because of COVID. Still, others are dealing with high absentee rates from teachers and students.

Athens City Schools requires students to wear masks in the building and on buses. But some school districts don’t have that policy in place. Last spring, the statewide mask policy was in place for schools until the end of the school year. But Gov. Mike DeWine says there’s no appetite for a statewide policy like that now so it’s up to school districtsto decide whether to require masks be worn inside school buildings. Some districts that began the year without requiring masks have changed their policies in recent days to require masks be worn, at least temporarily, while the COVID spread poses a problem.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.