COLUMBUS (WCMH/WDTN) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has released guidelines for schools to follow when they reopen in the fall.  

“These guidelines are not going to be a big surprise to anybody,” DeWine said before announcing the plan during his Thursday news conference.

The guidelines are as follows: 

  • Vigilantly assess for symptoms 
  • Wash and sanitize hands to prevent spread 
  • Thoroughly clean and sanitize school environment to limit spread on shared surfaces
  • Practice social distancing 
  • Implement face covering policy  

“Working with educators and health officials, we’ve created K-12 school guidelines – backed by science – for schools to follow when developing their reopening plans,” said DeWine. “Schools can adjust their rules to what works best for them for a safe environment and that protects students and staff.” 

DeWine noted that while teachers and students in Ohio did outstanding with distance learning, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends students be physically present in school as much as possible.  

“Our guidelines are based on the best scientific data we have,” DeWine said, adding that as medical professionals learn more about the virus, the document on the website will be updated.

The guidelines will also require school staff members to wear a face covering, unless it is unsafe for their job. He also recommended that children 3rd grade and up also wear a face mask.

“Remember, we wear masks to protect each other, often because people are sick, but show no symptoms. Masks can be especially useful and are strongly recommended at any grade level during periods of increased risk and when physical distancing is difficult,” said DeWine.

DeWine has said the guidelines give school districts flexibility.

“I appreciate that he somewhat left it locally because all of our situations are different,” said Reva Cosby, the new superintendent of Trotwood-Madison City Schools.

Cosby told 2 NEWS her administration has come up with three options for this school year: in-person instruction, online learning or a combination of the two. The results of a parent survey and the number of coronavirus cases in the area will be factors in their final decision, she said.

Officials recently raised concern about a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Trotwood area.

“We understand that we may have to, for safety reasons, start a different way,” Cosby said. “How we start may not be where we are in a month or two. We’re going to watch the numbers.”

Trotwood school officials are hoping to choose a plan for the fall within the next week, Cosby said.