Coronavirus Update: Schools Reopening, Spring/Summer Events & More
Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.
COVID-19 cases — In Columbus, 130 cases of COVID-19 were reported for Wednesday, Feb. 24. As of Thursday, Feb. 25, 78,966 total cases and 857 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in Columbus and Worthington.
In Franklin County at large, 196 cases were reported for Wednesday.
Countywide, 118,859 total cases and 1,258 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported by Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health.
In Ohio, 2,409 cases and 80 deaths were reported on Thursday.
Statewide, 962,404 total cases and 17,125 deaths have been confirmed or are probable, as reported by the Ohio Department of Health. 901,025 Ohioans are presumed recovered.
According to the Ohio Vaccination Dashboard, 1,530,823 Ohioans (13.1% of the total population) have been administered at least one dose of the vaccine. 159,512 Franklin County residents (12.11% of the county population) have received at least one valid dose.
See a list of COVID-19 vaccine providers here.
Sports and Entertainment Events Venues — Sports and entertainment events will be able to reopen with up to 25% indoor capacity and up to 30% outdoor capacity, with established health and safety protocols, said Governor Mike DeWine. Some required precautions will include mandatory mask wearing for employees and customers, seating in groups of six people or less, recommended to be of the same household.
If the state of the pandemic improves in spring or summer this could be expanded, said the governor. Spring and summer events, including proms, wedding receptions, fairs, festivals, and parades, and more, will receive guidance soon.
Schools Return — Central Ohio school districts will open next month. The proposed return dates include March 1 for Upper Arlington, March 8 for Westerville, March 15 for Dublin, Olentangy, and Hilliard, and March 23 for Bexley schools.
Columbus City Schools also announced more blended learning plans, including a partnership with COTA to provide free transit passes to high school students.
Students will be able to use the passes to get to and from school, go to extracurricular activities, and go to internships. Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon said the passes are supplemental and do not replace the yellow-bus transportation services the district offers.
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade started blended learning this month, but logistical challenges caused the district to consider how it would transport middle and high school students for in-person classes.
Now, sixth, 11th and 12th-grade students will transition to in-person learning on March 15, while seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th-grade students will start blended learning on March 18.
The district will provide more details on the partnership after it receives approval at the Columbus Board of Education’s March 2 meeting.
In higher-ed news, Ohio State University announced it is planning to reopen its campuses this fall for in-person campus services, events, teaching, and learning, and increase the number of students in residence halls, with approval from local, state, and federal health authorities.
The university said details of the reopening plan will be released in the next few months.
COVID Case Declines — Governor DeWine said the state was seeing a decline in new nursing home cases, with 369 new cases this past week, compared to 2,832 new cases in one week in December.
This follows weeks of declines in total cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, in Ohio and across the country. However, the data shows the number of new cases has stopped falling, both in Franklin County and across the country.
Free Services Available to Franklin County Residents — Central Ohio communication agency Nativa and the Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Board of Franklin County are partnering to promote the state’s COVID Care Program. The program links individuals and families with crisis support services.
ADAMH has partnered with local organizations to establish a 24-hour hotline available for residents to call and receive emotional support or get help connecting to food assistance, housing assistance, and financial services.
Call Ohio’s COVID Care Program at 614-305-5184.
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.