Health officials in Franklin County are strongly recommending all districts begin the school year with remote learning due to the active spread of COVID-19 in the county.
The average number of daily cases has tripled between June and mid-July, according to Franklin County Public Health (FCPH), and 17% of all cases have been in persons age 0-19.
In the letter sent Wednesday to all superintendents in the county, Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola also suggested that schools should discontinue extracurricular activities such as sports and marching band.
So far, the following districts in Franklin County have announced plans to begin the school year with all remote learning:
- Bexley City Schools*
- Columbus City Schools
- Dublin City Schools
- Gahanna-Jefferson City Schools
- Grandview Heights Schools
- Groveport Madison Schools
- Hilliard City Schools*
- Reynoldsburg City Schools
- South-Western City Schools
- Upper Arlington Schools
- Westerville City Schools
- Whitehall City Schools
- Worthington City Schools
*Plans still need to be finalized with a vote from the school boards
In guidance sent out earlier this month, FCPH recommended beginning the school year under a blended format to reduce the number of students in the classroom.
FCPH also said in the letter that if conditions should get better and students return to school buildings, districts should make masks mandatory for all students and staff and maintain social distancing of 6 feet at all times.
Columbus Public Health issued similar guidance to districts for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.
Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said the department would prefer to see four consecutive weeks of declining coronavirus cases before bringing kids back into the classroom.
Columbus City Schools announced Tuesday that all students K-12 will start the school year learning remotely. Instruction will begin on Sept. 8 for most schools and will remain all virtual through at least through October 27.