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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Lawmaker Wants To Make Reopening Child Care A Priority

Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington)
Ohio House
Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington)

Several industries are preparing to reopen in Ohio over the course of the next two weeks, including health practices, manufacturing plants, and other offices. But the state's first phase of reopening excludes daycares, which lawmakers say poses a serious problem.

Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) says there are working parents who can't return to their job if no one can watch their kids.

She's calling on Gov. Mike DeWine to form a strike team to come up with a plan that creates access to daycares but remains in the best interest of public health. Russo says, because of the lower class ratios, a plan should include some assistance.

"They need resources to reopen. Many of these centers, even the ones that have been able to remain open as pandemic childcare centers, they already operate on very thin margins," says Russo.

DeWine says he's bringing a team together to figure out what can be done about child care.

"This should not be an afterthought, this is something that needs to be happening right now, really yesterday, because the reality is many parents cannot go back to work if they do not have reliable, safe, quality childcare," Russo says.

Health experts say kids can become vectors for coronavirus, which poses an infection risk to the community when they gather in one place then go back to their homes.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.