COLUMBUS, Ohio — Earlier this week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine warned that more schools could have to go "totally remote" as COVID-19 cases continue surging throughout the state.
Then on Tuesday during his afternoon press conference, Gov. DeWine was asked if he was considering any statewide action on schools amid the coronavirus spike. Here was his response:
"Not at the moment. ... We are a local government state. Throughout our history we have relied on our local school boards, our local families to make decisions about their schools. We're going through a very, very tough period of time, and we still rely on those families to make decisions. We give them a lot of guidance. We put out a mask order, which was not very popular with some people. With the exception of one or two schools, teachers, principals have done a great job. Students have done a great job in wearing masks and doing everything they can to be safe."
He said that while there have been some COVID-19 cases associated with schools, DeWine added that the spread hasn't been huge.
"Any time you put people together there’s a risk, but they’re doing it in the safest way as they can in person," he said. "Still, there is always some risk. There’s a particular risk when the county positivity rate is high and the number of cases are high."
He said the state's color-coded alert system was built to also assist districts and parents with their best options.
"But we also know that in-person for most kids is probably the best, and is the best. That’s kind of where we would hope to get, but we can’t get there when we’ve got these high numbers. We’ve got to deal with the high numbers, and we can deal with them. But if we don’t it’s abundantly clear from what we’re seeing is more schools are going online. More schools are extending online. Some schools that were in person before are now going online. That is a natural consequence of the rise in cases in the community. It’s incumbent upon the adults, it seems to me, to drive those numbers down. We have the power to do it.”
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You can watch Gov. DeWine's full press conference from Tuesday, Oct. 20 in the player below: