Coronavirus Update: CCS to Hold in-Person Graduations, Pelotonia Returns, & More
Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.
COVID-19 cases — In Columbus, 134 cases of COVID-19 were reported for Wednesday, Feb. 17. As of Thursday, Feb. 18, 77,908 total cases and 852 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in Columbus and Worthington.
In Franklin County at large, 223 cases were reported for Wednesday.
Countywide, 117,226 total cases and 1,238 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported by Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health.
In Ohio, 2,282 cases and 98 deaths were reported on Thursday.
Statewide, 947,389 total cases and 16,611 deaths have been confirmed or are probable, as reported by the Ohio Department of Health. 876,697 Ohioans are presumed recovered.
According to the Ohio Vaccination Dashboard, 1,369,627 Ohioans (11.27% of the total population) have been administered at least one dose of the vaccine. 145,568 Franklin County residents (11.06% of the county population) have received at least one valid dose.
See a list of COVID-19 vaccine providers here.
CCS Officials Site Challenges with Reopening — In a Columbus Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, school officials noted the difficulties Columbus City Schools is facing in reopening for in-person classes.
The district has noted already that transportation issues have caused a delay in 6-12 students returning to a hybrid learning model. However, with at least three elementary schools returning to fully remote classes, board members also highlighted other issues the district faced in achieving fully hybrid learning.
For one, in addition to their own students, Columbus City Schools is responsible for the transportation of students who attend private and charter schools, if they live within the district. There is also a shortage of substitute teachers in addition to bus drivers.
Board members, including Board of Education President Jennifer Adair, criticized press conferences from Governor Mike DeWine on Friday and Tuesday, in which he criticized larger public school districts for not sticking to the agreement set out between districts and the state to offer hybrid learning to students by March 1, for the district’s staff and teachers to receive vaccines.
“It’s pretty sad, though, that our state government doesn’t want to be a partner, and instead wants to chastise, and blame and hold hostage, in some ways, local school districts when they’re just trying to do the best they can,” said Adair.
CCS Announces Dates for 2021 Graduation Ceremonies — On Friday, CCS announced it planned to hold in-person high school graduation ceremonies from June 2 through 5, 2021. Locations are still to be determined, keeping in mind the necessary health and safety protocols. Ceremonies will also be available to live stream.
Pelotonia to Return for Both In-Person and Self-Guided Rides — Registration began on Thursday for Pelotonia 2021, returning to Columbus from Aug. 6-8.
In 2020, Pelotonia was transformed into a virtual experience in response to the pandemic. For this year, the weekend will include both in-person ride experiences as well as self-guided participation options. Routes of varying miles and starting points will take place on Aug. 7 and 8.
Due to health and safety concerns, the option to stay overnight at Kenyon College has been removed. More health and safety protocols will be announced in the months leading up to Pelotonia.
More details are available at pelotonia.org.
City to Resume 72-Hour Parking Rule, Expired Plates Enforcement — Beginning March 1, the City of Columbus will resume enforcement on inoperable, unsafe or abandoned vehicles not moved on city streets for more than three consecutive days.
Enforcement was previously suspended in response to the pandemic, to provide flexibility for residents working from home after the city and state’s stay-at-home orders. According to a press release, the resumption of enforcement is in response to resident complaints of abandoned vehicles.
The city will also resume enforcement for failing to register or displaying expired license plates for registrations that expired in 2019 or earlier. Vehicle owners will not be ticketed for registrations that expired in 2020.
Vehicles in violation may be ticketed and towed.
New ODH Centralized Vaccine Scheduling Website — To better help Ohioans to confirm vaccine eligibility, find nearby providers, and schedule vaccine appointments, a centralized scheduling website has been created. The Ohio Department of Health is working with vaccine providers to enroll them in a new scheduling system.
The site is still not live for the public, however, it will be once most participating providers have signed up.
For residents without access to the internet, state partners, including the Area Agencies on Aging, will be available for assistance, said the governor.
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.