Columbus Public Health Commissioner recommends return to in-person learning


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As the number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Columbus appears to be decreasing, the Health Commissioner says it’s time to get children back in the classroom.

On Tuesday, the last date for which data is available, the city reported 75 new cases. Fewer than 100 cases have been reported on eight of the last 11 days. On Sunday, the fewest number of cases, 66, were reported since June 14 when there were 55 cases.

“I am pleased with where they are right now,” said Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts “I want that trend to continue. I’m happy to see that we’ve seen the downward trend in cases that I wanted to see.”

Dr. Roberts says the city has seen five consecutive weeks of a downward trend in case numbers. She has recommended to schools districts that if they want to resume in-person learning, it’s time to do it based on community case count.

“Tomorrow, the governor will come out with his new Public Health Advisory System. I’m optimistic that Franklin County might change to a different color, a better color,” said Roberts. “And then, it’s up to the school boards and superintendents to decide if they have the time to move the ship and get the kids back in the classroom now.

Full interview with Dr. Roberts

But Columbus City Schools has no plans to return to in-person learning.

“Columbus City Schools will begin the 2020-2021 school year completely virtual, for all Pre-K – 12th-grade students on September 8th, 2020,” said Jacqueline Bryant, CCS director of communications. “The District will stay all virtual through at least the first quarter of the Traditional School Year, and at least the first intersession of the Year-Round School. Depending on the recommendations from our local and state health departments, the move to a Blended Learning Model – in-person instruction (two days a week) and remote at-home learning (three days a week) could come at the beginning of the second quarter (October 29, 2020).”

“We are, across the board, seeing new case numbers and confirmed case numbers dropping and again that is a direct result of masks,” said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “It’s a direct result of social distancing, but number one again it’s those masks, so keep wearing those masks, keep being responsible and we’ll continue to see these numbers drop.”

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