COLUMBUS — The State of Ohio’s nightly curfew was stretched to 11 p.m. as of Thursday night, a move made after the state had seven consecutive days below 3,500 hospitalizations, according to Gov. Mike DeWine.
“We will look at these numbers again in two weeks to potentially move to a midnight curfew or eliminate the curfew completely,” he said.
He also reiterated that Ohioans 75 and older are currently eligible to be vaccinated. On Monday, Feb. 1, vaccinations will open to Ohioans 70 and older. However, “Demand is currently much higher than supply, so please continue following safety protocols until the vaccine is more widely available,” said DeWine.
For more information, visit http://coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine .
For school staffs
To help schools return safely to in-person education, Ohio has prioritized vaccinating K-12 school employees — including teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and custodians — anyone who is in that school building.
“One of the goals for our vaccine distribution has been to get kids back in school by March 1,” said DeWine. “Every public school in the state has agreed to go back to class in person by March 1 – except for one.
He said schools with access to vaccines next week have been notified at http://bit.ly/2Mxx7Nt . he added that, on Friday (Jan. 29), all schools would be notified which week they will receive their vaccinations.
DeWine said the plan was “created with several important factors in mind” and that “we’ve tried to make this simple for K-12 staff to get vaccinated. Most K-12 staff in a county will be vaccinated within seven days. The goal is to maximize the capacity of local vaccination partners.
“We have a limited supply of vaccine. We have pulled vaccine from our statewide allocation specifically for vaccinating our K-12 staff. There just isn’t enough to do every school in the first week. We must be able to also vaccinate older Ohioans in February.
He continued, “This is a logistical issue. The plan we’ll announce will ensure that counties can vaccinate the maximum number of people in the shortest amount of time. Local educational service centers are working with local health departments and retail pharmacies to facilitate vaccinations that are convenient for school staff.”
DeWine reiterated why “it is so important to get our kids physically back in the classroom ASAP.
“Remote learning is taking its toll on some students,” he said. “The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recognizes that beyond getting sick, many adolescents’ social-emotional and mental well-being has been impacted by this pandemic.
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services Director Lori Criss appeared remotely at DeWine’s Thursday briefing.
“School is community for our youth. It benefits kids so much more than academic content; it’s the social and emotional connections that kids feel with friends, classmates, extra-curriculars, teachers, and more,” said Criss.
“Youth are presenting across the state with more acute mental health symptoms during the pandemic than normally experienced. When kids aren’t in school, the change of routine and constant uncertainty produces anxiety. Disconnection from learning, emotional, and social supports can lead to depression. Missed significant life events – like proms and sports competitions — can result in grief.”
Reach out and help
DeWine asks that Ohioans reach out to help if a young person is:
• Talking about feeling hopeless
• Worrying about being a burden
• Feeling like there’s no reason to live
• Using drugs/alcohol or engaging in other risky behaviors
• Struggling with school
• Disconnecting from family/friends.