DeWine asks schools to create plans to address learning gaps caused by pandemic

DeWine asks schools to create plans to address learning gaps caused by pandemic

School districts were asked by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to begin to create plans to help address learning gaps created by the pandemic and help find ways to get students caught back up.

DeWine set a goal for April 1 for districts and schools to create uniquely tailored plans for their students to get caught up. DeWine stressed the learning gaps caused by the pandemic are one of the biggest problems facing the state.

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“The future of our state depends on how we help our kids today,” DeWine said. “We cannot let this pandemic get in the way of their ability to thrive.”

He encouraged public discussion to include lawmakers, parents, educators, and all Ohioans to help with ways to get the children caught up.

DeWine made some suggestions to help Ohio students get caught up, including extending the school day or extending the learning calendar into the summer. Whatever the plan, individual districts are the ones who will create it.

To help with the funding to get Ohio students back on track, DeWine said the state received $2 billion from the federal government in December for the state’s schools. DeWine asked for schools to work with the state’s General Assembly to get plans and funding approved.

Additional announcements made during yesterday’s briefing:

  • DeWine was asked about if Ohio will reduce or eliminate certain business restrictions, including the statewide curfew, as hospitalizations continue to decrease. DeWine said the state has outlined a plan to eliminate the curfew based on hospitalizations, if the state remains below 2,500 hospitalizations for seven days, a benchmark the state has already reached. DeWine said he was concerned with variants of the virus that exist and how that could change how the state’s pandemic fight looks like in the coming weeks. While indicating the plan in place DeWine did not confirm further curfew rollbacks will be coming.
  • Next week the state will be receiving just under 200,000 first doses from Pfizer and Moderna. Over 114,000 Moderna doses will arrive next week and over 73,000 Pfizer vaccines will be available for the state to use.
  • DeWine was asked about places that can hold mass vaccinations including some larger buildings in the state such as Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. DeWine said the state has identified 100 potential large vaccination sites, but said the state is unwilling to make people travel far distances to get vaccines in the initial rollouts of the vaccines. But DeWine again hinted and indicated the state will plan to use and establish some mass vaccination sites in the future when vaccines become more easily available.
  • DeWine said the state is still working on who will be included next in the vaccine rollout. The state will be sitting at the 65 and older group for a few weeks before more Ohioans will be eligible to get a shot. DeWine said the next group eligible will be based on age and some by existing medical conditions that would made them a high-risk if they got COVID-19.
  • DeWine started his Tuesday briefing by talking about getting Ohio students back to forms of in-person learning by March 1. DeWine called it an “urgent necessity” to get Ohio kids back in schools, citing the hard toll the pandemic has taken. DeWine discussed again the state’s plan to vaccinate teachers and school staff members before the end of February to meet the March 1 goal. Some larger districts in Butler and Montgomery counties started staff vaccinations last week while other districts and schools will start and continue through the week.
  • As part of the state’s Executive Budget that was announced last week DeWine said the state will expand the investment in the Student Wellness and Success Programs and other services included to $1.1 billion. “With this flexible funding, individual schools make decisions about what their students need most. So far, more than one in four of the initiatives have been focused on mental health services. Almost one in seven initiatives are focused on physical health services,” DeWine said.
  • DeWine announced that the state has received $100 million in federal funding to help Ohioans struggling to pay rent and utility bills due to the pandemic. The funds are being distributed to approved Ohioans through the Ohio Developmental Services Agencies and the state’s 47 community action agencies across the state. There are certain specifications households must meet to qualify. Details and how to apply can be found at businesshelp.ohio.gov.