CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Ohio Education Association is urging the state to enact stronger measures and requirements before school starts after members say they don’t feel safe about returning.
“We’ve been hearing from OEA members from across the state increasingly over the course of the summer tell us they just don’t feel safe going back to school in person,” said Scott DiMauro, President of the Ohio Education Association.
The OEA says given the dangers posed by the spread of COVID-19, reopening for in-person instruction prematurely poses risks to the lives and health of students and staff.
The OEA is calling for all schools in red and purple counties on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System to start the school year 100% remotely until the infection rates are under control.
Here in the Tri-State, counties like Hamilton and Clermont both fall under the red risk level of the state’s alert system.
Schools in counties where infection rates are higher, OEA says they want them to open only for remote instruction as long as it is necessary.
For counties where infection rates are lower, the OEA says they want those schools to be required to follow all CDC safety guidelines.
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Although Gov. Mike Dewine issued a set of guidelines for reopening plans in the fall, the OEA tells FOX19 Now, most of that guidance was in the form of recommendations, rather than requirements.
“It’s no fault of local school officials who I think want to do what’s best, but they’re not public health experts,” said DiMauro. “And we want to make sure we’re making sure we’re following the guidance of public health experts.”
Some community members say they are on board with the decision to start school remotely
“Because they don’t even have a cure for it and you don’t expect all these kids to be doing social distancing and they’re too young to know what it is, you know,” said Patricia Bias.
Schools in orange and yellow counties are permitted to open for in-person instruction under the state’s plans, but only if all CDC requirements can be fully met.
We know a lot of you have questions about kids returning to school in the age of COVID-19. FOX19 has started the Kids, Classes and Coronavirus Facebook group to help/ We’ll share what we learn and we also want to hear from you. What questions and concerns do you have? Let us know and we’ll try to get answers. Also, feel free to share information that you think other people might find useful regarding a return to the classroom. Click here to join.