COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Thursday, Governor Mike DeWine announced that all Ohio K-12 schools will close at the end of the school day on Monday, March 16 for an "extended spring break" until April 3.
The statewide order closing schools applies to all public, private and charter schools in Ohio, he said.
During his press conference, he said that unless the child has another medical problem, the risk of death from COVID-19 is not very high, but kids are potential carriers.
"We know this will impact families," DeWine said. "We understand the sacrifice this will entail, but this is the right thing to do."
“I think it’s bold leadership and I think it’s the right thing to do. We need to interrupt this spread," said Susan Vodrey minutes after DeWine's announcement.
Parents waiting outside Shaker Heights High School said they could be flexible during the three week break.
“We are flexible enough that we could deal with it but I’m sure there’s a lot of families who are going to have a hard time with it," said Jon Herbst.
Vodrey said she and her family are lucky to have a fluid schedule.
“We’re fortunate that it probably is not going to impact us a whole lot. You know, it’s going to be disruptive but not overly disruptive,” she said.
But one person waiting for a student said she was going to go about things differently.
“I am not even going to look at it that way. You know, I’m just going to take each day as it comes and try to work it out each day,” Brenda Smith said.
Currently, there is no statewide mandate for what schools have to do during the break.
DeWine gave districts the option to craft their own plan.
They can have online classes or just a straight break.
“What I didn’t hear about was what’s supposed to happen on the end of it," said Herbst. "You know, how long are they going to have to go to school when they usually would be getting out.”
The governor did not directly address the end of the school year or if the school year would extend past the predetermined date.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Below you can find information and resources on novel coronavirus, COVID-19, from local, state, national and international organizations, including the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the Ohio Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.
News 5 will continue to update this section with new information, resources, links, and more as it is made available.
COVID-19/2019 Novel Coronavirus Overview from the CDC:
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
Can people in the U.S. get COVID-19? Yes. COVID-19 is spreading from person to person in parts of the United States. Risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19, for example healthcare workers, or household members. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Learn more about places with ongoing spread here.
Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.? Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage here.
How does COVID-19 spread? The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses here.
Download and read the CDC's full "What you need to know about coronavirus disease (COVID-19)" information sheet here.
Global case numbers are reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report.
Coronavirus in Ohio:
As of Wednesday March 11, there were four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ohio — three in Cuyahoga County, outside of Cleveland, and one in Stark County. Twenty four persons were under investigation for the disease. See the Coronavirus information page on the Ohio Department of Health's website for the latest numbers of confirmed cases and persons under investigation.
According to the governor, two of the confirmed cases are from a married couple that went on a cruise on the Nile River. The third Cuyahoga County case is from a person that went to the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. According to a cantor from the Jewish Temple in Beachwood, 160 people from Cleveland attended the conference. The three patients are between 54 and 56-years-old, according to officials. Read more on those cases here.
On Wednesday, health officials announced a fourth case in Ohio - a man in his mid-50s in Stark County. This case is the first example in the state of "community spread," meaning the man had not traveled out of the country, and had no known contact with an international traveler. Read more on that case here.
On Tuesday, after consulting with medical experts, Gov. DeWine announced wide-ranging, statewide recommendations, including holding sporting events without spectators and having colleges and universities switch to remote learning.
Then, on Wednesday, Gov. DeWine issued an order limiting the number of visitors to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Ohio, and announced he would soon be issuing an order limiting public gatherings across the state.
Coronavirus' Impacts in Northeast Ohio:
Since the announcement of confirmed cases in Ohio, a number of local events, schools, facilities and more have announced closures, cancellations, postponements and changes as a result of coronavirus. News 5 is working to keep this information updated in the links below:
More resources from News 5 and affiliates:
The symptoms of coronavirus are fever and lower respiratory tract issues, such as cough and shortness of breath, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
Anyone traveling internationally should review plans in advance of their trip, and check the CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Information Page for daily updates and travel alerts.
Practice Good Hygiene
The CCBH recommends the following good hygiene practices to prevent coronavirus, as well as the flu, colds and other illnesses:
Sneeze or cough into the bend of your elbow to keep germs from spreading
Regularly wash your hands with soap and water/use alcohol-based hand sanitizer in between
Don’t share cups, spoons, forks, etc. with anyone
Don’t make food for anyone if you are sick
Don’t go to work or school if you are sick
Visit a doctor, urgent care or emergency department if you are sick – don’t take chances
Please contact your medical provider with any questions.
Guidance for those with compromised immune systems
Cuyahoga County: See the CCBH page on coronavirus here.
Ohio Department of Health:
It is updated daily at 2 p.m. with the current number of confirmed cases, persons under investigation and persons under investigation who tested negative for the disease.
More resources from ODH:
Ohio Secretary of State:
Corona Facts: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has launched a web page dedicated to providing facts about coronavirus' impacts on voting and the Primary Election in Ohio.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CCBH has created this list of coronavirus-related resources from the CDC:
Guidance for businesses
Guidance for colleges and universities
Guidance for communities and mass gatherings
Guidance for healthcare facilities
Guidance for healthcare professionals
Guidance for people with elevated risk for illness
Guidance for pregnant women
Guidance for risk assessment
Guidance for schools
Guidance for travelers
World Health Organization