The coronavirus, or COVID-19, that the Ohio Department of Health reports is sweeping Ohio has caused Gov. Mike DeWine to close all public, private and charter K-12 schools for three weeks starting at the end of the school day on Monday, March 16.
It will be a sort of extended spring break, keeping the schools shuttered until April 3.
“We could have waited to close schools, but based on advice from health experts, this is the time to do it,” said Gov. DeWine in a statement from his office. “We have a responsibility to save lives.”
The statewide primary election on Tuesday, March 17, will be allowed. The St. Patrick’s Day celebration and massive parade in Cleveland, though, has been cancelled.
“I know it is hard to understand COVID-19 (the coronavirus), since we can’t see it,” said Director Dr. Amy Acton of the Ohio Department of Health. “But we know that 1% of our population is carrying this virus today. That is over 100,000 people.”
Dr. Acton did sign an order on Thursday banning gatherings of more than 100 people. That does not include mass transit, athletic events that exclude spectators or grocery stores.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced that all remaining winter tournaments, including basketball, wrestling and ice hockey have been postponed.
The suspended tournaments include the girls state basketball tournament; the state individual wrestling tournament; the state ice hockey tournament, and the boys regional and state basketball tournaments.
“We will use this time to work with the appropriate state authorities and health experts to determine our next steps moving forward,” said OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass. “We realize this is disappointing for our participants and their fans, but the overall health and safety of everyone involved in our tournaments is our priority.”
No timetable has been determined for possible rescheduling for the tournaments.