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OEA welcomes CDC’s school reopening guidance, calls for federal support

[February 11, 2021] Nearly a year after the first COVID-19 cases appeared in Ohio, the Ohio Education Association (OEA) is grateful to have clear science-based guidance from the federal level to shape plans for getting students and educators back into their classrooms safely. The guidance provides a blueprint to reopen school buildings for in-person instruction in districts where that has not yet been possible and to ensure safety for all school community members in places where face-to-face instruction has already resumed.

“The CDC guidance generally reflects what OEA has been saying since last summer about the conditions under which in-person instruction can be achieved safely. The level of community spread is the key factor in deciding the education model for students to continue receiving a high-quality education, in-person or online, and the science-based CDC guidelines recognize the absolutely necessity of mitigation measures like masks, social distancing, and sanitization procedures. Emphasizing the importance of COVID testing further strengthens these safety norms,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said.

The CDC’s guidance also calls for prioritizing school instruction over extracurricular activities and sports, echoing OEA’s Putting Education First policy which asked Ohioans to avoid non-essential activities to limit community spread of the virus to enable school buildings to remain open for in-person instruction. The full Putting Education First policy can be downloaded here.

“OEA is pleased to see leadership from the CDC on this issue and to see the importance of equity in the federal policies to direct resources to communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic, including many communities of color or those with high-poverty, where actions like updating ancient ventilation systems in schools or addressing the digital divide have thus far felt out of reach,” DiMauro said. “It is now up to U.S. lawmakers to follow through on these promises and pass President Biden’s COVID relief package, which will include over $130 billion in targeted support for PreK-12 schools, about $4 billion of which would go to Ohio.”

“It is simply not possible to follow the CDC’s rules without the resources to do so,” DiMauro explained. “More than 60 percent of Ohio’s teachers are already teaching in person – some are doing so at risk to themselves. But they shouldn’t have to. Our members want more than anything to be in their classrooms with their students when it is safe, and we are all counting on Congress to deliver what we know is needed to make schools safe now.”

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2021 Press Releases