Teachers union calling on Gov. DeWine to provide more guidance on when schools should close

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The largest teachers union in Ohio is calling on Governor Mike DeWine and state leaders to provide more resources and guidance on when schools should be open or closed.

It comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases that has led to some local school districts reverting to remote learning, with each district making that decision on its own.

“We need the state department of health and the Governor’s office to be a lot more explicit in saying what are the parameters for when schools can be open and when schools can’t be open,” said Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro.

OEA said it believes all schools should go remote in counties that reach red level three or above, including most counties in Northeast Ohio.

“Given the reality that so much is left to local control, that ultimately means a lot of decisions are left to politics and that science isn’t always the driving factor as reopening decisions are being made,” DiMauro said.

DeWine said Thursday that he believes in local control and decision-making for schools, and health officials have not indicated school classrooms are a significant source of the spread of the virus.

When asked earlier this week whether he is considering statewide action, DeWine encouraged Ohioans to take precautionary measures such as wearing a mask as “a much better option.”

OEA also called for the federal and state government to provide more funding for school resources to ensure health and safety, technology for remote learning and continued nutrition and support services.

“Congress is in a unique position to be able to provide relief, but the state of Ohio has a $2.7 billion rainy day fund, and, so far, that hasn’t been touched,” DiMauro said. “It’s pretty clear that it’s raining.”

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