Before the virus takes hold

DeWine announces extended “spring break”; school cancels activities

Going+viral%3A+American+Sign+Language+student+Maia+Bisceglia+%2810%29+sits+in+study+hall+after+all+ASL+classes+were+cancelled+on+March+12.+Because+of+the+recent+outbreak+of+the+coronavirus%2C+Sinclair+Community+College%2C+which+is+associated+with+ASL+classes+at+the+high+school%2C+closed+and+canceled+classes%2C+affecting+CCP+classes+as+well.

Going viral: American Sign Language student Maia Bisceglia (10) sits in study hall after all ASL classes were cancelled on March 12. Because of the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, Sinclair Community College, which is associated with ASL classes at the high school, closed and canceled classes, affecting CCP classes as well.

Sophia Shannon, Editor

Governor Mike DeWine announced in a March 12 press conference that all Ohio schools will engage in a three week “spring break” starting March 16 due to the recent cases of COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, in Ohio. In addition, mass gatherings, which are classified as gatherings of 100 people or more, are canceled.

According to the Ohio Department of Health’s website, there are five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Ohio, and 52 more cases are being tested.

As of March 12, there has been no announcement of complete closure for K-12 schools in the district.

“All of us are working together to take the precautions necessary to slow the spread of the virus and keep our communities safe,” Dr. Kyle Ramey, superintendent, said in an email to parents on March 11.

According to the district website on March 12: “In light of today’s order from Gov. Mike DeWine, Oakwood Schools’ campus will be closed to students and the public starting the end of the school day Friday, March 13 through at least Friday, April 3.”

The district plans to utilize March 16 for staff professional development with “off-site learning opportunities” beginning March 17 and ending March 27.

“Our staff is preparing for any extended closures by developing lessons that would allow continuing education for all Oakwood students,” Ramey said via email. “We are using all of our available resources and talents to make sure we can provide quality learning experiences for our students if we must have an extended closure.”

The district is also considering cancellations for individual upcoming events associated with the schools. As of press time, [email protected] and the Turnabout dance were cancelled, but the district hopes to reschedule some events.

“We will continue to evaluate on an individual basis whether to hold, postpone or cancel these activities,” Ramey said via email. 

Other extracurricular events have been reconfigured based on outside health concerns. Author Chris Crutcher was originally planning to come to the high school on March 13 to discuss his experience with students, but his doctor advised against traveling because of the virus according to Book Squad adviser Mindi Ashworth.

According to the announcements on March 12, “Award-winning author Chris Crutcher is unable to travel to Ohio this Friday, but he is hosting a Skype session for free in the Library during lunch.” 

Additionally, DeWine made a statement on March 12 detailing new developments of the cases in Ohio that led to the decision.

“We have in Ohio a new confirmed case, a 55-year-old male from Trumbull county,” DeWine said in the press conference. “These confirmed numbers are only a small number of individuals who are already infected in the state of Ohio. We are told by medical experts that whatever the number is today it will double in six days and that just continues on and on and on.”

DeWine urges people to take precautions and watch out for all others.

“Government can only do so much and only should do so much but it is really incumbent on us to protect ourselves, to protect our loved ones, and it is incumbent to protect total strangers,” DeWine said. “Each one of us has that obligation. You can’t put out orders to cover every situation, but the key here is to not only protect ourselves but to protect each other.”

With the virus reaching pandemic levels, it is important to recognize the different ways students can try to protect against it.

“Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing,” according to the Center for Disease Control’s website. “If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.”

The CDC also recommends that individuals stop touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Another method is to minimize close contact with other people, known as social distancing.

“Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing,” according to the World Health Organization’s website. “When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.”

If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, which include high fevers, coughing and a sore throat, contact a doctor and do not come to school or work. To prevent the spread of the virus, people must be aware of their health and exhibit caution around other people. To reach the Ohio COVID-19 Call Center, call (833)427-5634 or visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

UPDATED: March 12 at 6:07 p.m.

Deleted: The school is preparing for a possible transfer to remote teaching as well, as officials are unsure of what learning will look like during the extended spring break as of press time.

Added: According to the district website on March 12: “In light of today’s order from Gov. Mike DeWine, Oakwood Schools’ campus will be closed to students and the public starting the end of the school day Friday, March 13 through at least Friday, April 3.”

The district plans to utilize March 16 for staff professional development with “off-site learning opportunities” beginning March 17 and ending March 27.