“Not acceptable,” DeWine calls for schools to recommit to in-person learning

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 9:22 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTAP) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Friday night that some schools have announced they will not bring students back to class, despite promising to do so.

DeWine struck a deal with educators earlier in the pandemic, promising to get any school employee a vaccine that wanted one, so long as schools brought in-person learning back in some way. All but one district in the state had agreed to those terms, DeWine said.

But now, multiple schools have decided to stay remote beyond their March first deadline.

“There are a handful of schools that have indicated that they will break that promise, that they will break that commitment, not just a commitment to me, but really a commitment to the children of that district. This is simply not acceptable,” said DeWine.

DeWine gave a few examples of schools who have opted to not uphold their end of the deal, including a Cincinnati High School which will apparently remained closed to in-person instruction through the end of the school year. DeWine said vaccinations have already been completed in that district.

“That simply is not acceptable,” DeWine repeated.

DeWine said he would consider taking vaccinations away from schools that refuse to return on time, if vaccinations haven’t been completed in that district.

“The only reason we are doing this is so you go back to school March One, that’s kind of the deal and we think it’s worth it, but if you’re not going to go back, then, we need to take these vaccines and frankly put them to a group that is more vulnerable,” said DeWine. “It’s not that we don’t want to vaccinate teachers. We love teachers. We want to vaccinate them, but we are trying to accomplish things here.”

During the question and answer session at the end of his briefing, DeWine clarified that he was not out to threaten or punish anyone, but he wants to get children back into school.

The governor went on to say parents still have a choice in sending their children to school, but he argued that schools have a commitment to parents and their children to open up.

He said there is ample evidence that children can safely attend school when masks are worn.

The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidance that says vaccinations are not necessary for a return to in-person learning.

DeWine spoke earlier in the week about the gap in learning that the COVID-19 pandemic has created. You can read more about that by clicking here.

The governor said most schools have held up their end of the bargain. In early January, 219 districts were fully remote. On Friday, only 31 districts were fully remote.

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