Ohio To Close All Schools For 3 Weeks To Help Prevent Spread Of Coronavirus

WWJ News
March 12, 2020 - 4:25 pm
school hallway lockers

(photo: dreamstime)


(WWJ/AP) Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered schools closed for three weeks beginning Monday.

He acknowledged the disruptions it will mean for families but said it's necessary to help prevent the spread of the virus.

"From what we can tell based on what has happened elsewhere -- unless a child has another medical problem, the risk of death from #COVID19 for a child is not very high, but kids are potential carriers," DeWine said, in a series of tweets.


The closure — which begins and the end of the school day Monday and remains in effect until April 3 — includes all K-12 schools in Ohio including public, private and charter.

"We have a responsibility to save lives. We could have waited to close schools, but based on advice from health experts, this is the time to do it." he said. "We are in a crisis, so we have to treat it like one. We're all in this together."

The announcement came as state Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton issued an order banning gatherings of over 100 people. In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer suggested that Michiganders avoid gatherings of 100 people of more, but did not outright ban them, 

The ban in Ohio is not absolute and exempts work places, religious gatherings, weddings and funerals, and other events. Numerous cancellations preceded the announcement across the state.

Ohio State University canceled the annual football team scrimmage dubbed the Spring Game, scheduled for April 11, an event that regularly attracts tens of thousands of fans to Columbus. The Cleveland Orchestra canceled three concerts scheduled for this week. Schools had already canceled concerts and other school performances.

Health officials say five people in Ohio have tested positive for the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. Ohio is currently testing 52 people who have shown symptoms of respiratory distress and has cleared another 30 people.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.