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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.

Ohio Loosens K-12 Quarantine Restrictions For Students

Andy Chow

Ohio students in K-12 schools no longer have to quarantine if they're considered a close contact of another student who's tested positive for COVID-19.

For the first months of the school year, students were sent home for 14 days if they spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of a classmate who tested positive.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) is changing that guidance after a study conducted by the state showed no increased risk of spread. 

"As long as students in the classroom were masked, as long as they are masked, compliant and do the best they can with social distance, they do not have an increased risk of catching covid-19 from a nearby student who may have had it," DeWine said. 

Watch: Gov. Mike DeWine announces change to K-12 guidance.

Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association, says the state's largest teachers union appreciates the decision was based on science and study. DiMauro says the guidance loosens quarantining restrictions but in a limited way that still promotes masks, distance, and cleaning protocols.

"What this does is it reinforces what we have said all along and that is that we want learning to take place, that we support in-person instruction where it can happen safely but we have to make sure that we're following all guidance when it comes to protecting the health and safety of our students, or school employees, and people in our communities," DiMauro said.

Ohio is changing the guidelines from what has been recommended by the CDC.


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.