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- American politician in Ohio (born 1947)
COLUMBUS, OH — Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that K-12 classrooms will remain closed through the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, and possibly even into the fall. The governor says the move is necessary to both slow the spread of the new coronavirus and to give schools time to figure out how to best protect vulnerable students.
"We have got to figure out how to protect children with unique health challenges who may be susceptible to COVID-19" said DeWine.
DeWine also cited concerns that students could remain healthy, but pass the virus to teachers and staff who may be susceptible. "We know that statistically unless a child has a specific medical problem the fatality rate is exceedingly low among young people, but we also know that young people are carriers" DeWine said.
Why are we keeping schools closed? We've flattened the curve, but the virus remains. Also, to go back to school now with a relatively small amount of time left - many educators have expressed to me that this wouldn't be a good idea even if the health situation was resolved.
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) April 20, 2020
Classes will continue to be held remotely through the end of the regular school year. As for the fall, many different options are being considered. DeWine brought up the possibility that the system may be "blended" next school year with some classes being held online, while others are held in person.
But that decision will still be made sometime in the future. "We've made no decision about the fall yet, we'll have to see where we're going" said DeWine.
Also under consideration: how to serve students who may not have stable internet access, and students without supportive home lives. DeWine says its critical that underprivileged students not be left behind in the upheaval, and that the state is working to find ways to reach those kids.
Over 1,200 new cases, 38 deaths due to coronavirus
Coinciding with Gov. DeWine's update was the release of new coronavirus statistics for the state of Ohio. The data shows an increase of 1,224 new cases of the virus and 38 more deaths, for a total of 12,516 cases and 491 deaths due to the coronavirus statewide.
An additional 18 deaths likely caused by the virus are still under investigation, as are 403 illnesses that are probably due to the virus but not confirmed.
Of the 12,516 people infected with the disease, 2,653 have had to be hospitalized for treatment. That means about 21 percent, or one-in-five patients, require hospitalization. Of those patients 798 are in the ICU for extreme cases.
New dashboard to track virus spread, growth predictions
Finally, the governor also announced that the state department of health has launched a new online dashboard to track the spread of the coronavirus. The dashboard allows residents to see how many cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due the coronavirus each county has, as well as growth trends and a general prediction of when the virus' growth will peak in Ohio.
The governor says the dashboard offers the broadest and most granular data ever made available on infectious diseases in Ohio's history.
This story is being updated.