COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A large number of Ohio’s students will be returning to some form of in-person classes this fall.
During his statehouse coronavirus briefing Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine said roughly 590,000 school students, representing 38 percent of the state’s total students, will be returning to in-person classes this fall.
Based on data released by the state, the majority of these 325 school districts are located in rural parts of the state.
In addition, 154 school districts, representing roughly 380,000 students, or 24.5 percent, will start the school year using a hybrid model of in-class and online learning.
Fifty-five school districts, mostly in the urban centers of the state, will be fully online, representing 25.6 percent of Ohio’s student population, or approximately 398,000 students.
DeWine said there are still 78 school districts that have not reported any data for various reasons.
“As we look at our schools, and I’ve talked to a lot of superintendents, I’ve talked to a lot of teachers, and let me just say I think our schools are doing a very good job getting ready, those that are going to be online or those that are going to be in person, I think they’re doing a good job and have been working very, very hard,” DeWine said. “For those that are going to start either hybrid or totally in person, I think they’re going to do a very, very good job.”
DeWine issued a mandate on Aug. 4 that masks will be required – with some exceptions – for all students kindergarten through 12th grade in Ohio’s classrooms.
DeWine reiterated his point from last week that whatever spread of COVID-19 there is in the community will be reflected in the schools.
“If it’s high COVID spread throughout the community, it’s going to be high in your school, and there’s really no way of changing that,” he said.
He then called on the communities to follow the guidelines in an effort to make the communities and, by extension, their schools safe.
“My plea today to parents, grandparents, and even if you don’t have a kid in school, if we want our kids to go to school, we want them to be there in person, we want them to play sports, we want them to be in whatever club they’re in, whatever their passion is – there’s nothing better than having your child care a lot about something… If you want them to be able to have that experience, it’s encumbent upon all of us, every single one of us to do everything we can to keep down the spread in the community in which that school lives, and that’s the best thing that we can do,” DeWine said.
Data released by the state shows the rate of COVID-19 infection among school-aged children (ages 0-19) has gone up from 2.4 percent in March at the start of the pandemic to 12.8 percent through the first 10 days of August.