“OEA understands and respects the long-standing adherence to local control in decision-making around public education, but the state also has a critical role to play amidst an unprecedented public health crisis and a rising number of cases of COVID-19,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “While we appreciate the consideration given to the importance of social distancing, health checks, and sanitation protocols in the Governor’s plan, it lacks a means of enforcement, even when a county is in the highest tier of the alert system.”
“Parents need to feel confident that schools are safe for their students to return to if we have any hope of successfully reopening the economy. They should not have to choose between their students’ health and their academic success,” DiMauro said. “A good number of Ohio’s educators are in the highest-risk group for severe complications from COVID-19. They should not have to choose between their livelihood and their health.”
OEA believes that it is more important than ever that educators have a seat at the table in local decisions, and to allow creative problem-solving through the collective bargaining process.
“We must ensure educators’ voices are heard in every school district as plans are developed to ensure a safe, successful school year,” DiMauro said. “We must also ensure resources are in place to implement critical safety measures. Federal lawmakers must step up and provide the needed funding for schools across Ohio.”
The U.S. House-passed HEROES Act would provide some of that education funding, but the Senate has failed to take up that bill for consideration. “We urge Sen. Rob Portman and his colleagues to act now on behalf of Ohio’s students,” DiMauro said.