COLUMBUS, Ohio — During his twice-weekly COVID-19 news conference, Gov. Mike DeWine once again urged the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Akron Local Schools to return to in-person or hybrid instruction by March 1, saying that students would be safe even without vaccinations being widely distributed.
"I did a rather impromptu news conference on Friday, when we found out that some of our districts were, we're not going to be able to make that deadline. And I would just again, encourage them to do everything that they can to do that. It's not about a commitment to me. It's not about like commitment to the state or the health department. It is really a commitment to the students," DeWine said.
For most of the pandemic, DeWine left the decision regarding remote instruction to each district in Ohio's 88 counties. But recently, DeWine has started a push to have every school in the state back in session, or at least in a hybrid learning environment, by next month.
"So I would just urge the schools, do everything in your power to get to get back in session. Again, it's not about me, it's about your students," DeWine said.
The push from DeWine intensified last week after the CDC announced students could safely return to school, even if they weren't vaccinated, the caveat being that each child and educator continue to wear masks and maintain proper social distancing among other safety measures.
As DeWine has previously stated, hybrid learning could vary from location to location, but it would involve students splitting in-person classes with remote learning so they are back in schools at least two or three days a week. DeWine has said that ideally, he wants students back in classrooms full time, but hybrid learning is a step in the right direction.
The governor said all schools except for one in Ohio previously signed a commitment to resume in-person learning by March 1, a date that said he is holding them to.
CMSD CEO Eric Gordon is expected to make an announcement later this week regarding the district's reopening plan.
Akron Public Schools said students are expected to return to class by March 15, and when reached for comment Tuesday, said they had nothing to add to their previous statement.
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