by Todd DeFeo
State leaders, including Gov. Mike DeWine, want the Ohio Controlling Board to approve $300 million in federal funding for schools across the Buckeye State.
They want $200 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund for higher education and $100 million from the fund for K-12 schools. The money would help schools pay for safety measures brought on by COVID-19.
The funding request is in addition to the more than $440 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding Ohio K-12 schools are receiving and the more than $190 million in federal dollars heading to colleges and universities in the state.
“This funding comes from federal CARES Act dollars to help schools meet their unique individual needs,” DeWine said in a statement. “We intend for this funding to be very flexible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
If approved, the money would be available to all public and private schools and to all two-year and four-year colleges and universities, both public and private, including adult career tech providers.
The governor also announced new guidelines for colleges and universities to reopen this fall. The new guidelines include both a “Minimum Operating Standard” and “Recommended Best Practices.”
“As our campuses seek to re-engage in more normal operations, the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors must always be the number one priority,” according to the guidelines.
“Our institutions will move cautiously and carefully to ensure that the standards and best practices contained in (the guidelines) document, which are highly informed by the latest guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health, local health departments, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can be faithfully executed,” according to the document. “As public health experts learn more about the best ways to combat the COVID-19 virus, these standards may be revised and updated accordingly.”
Health experts across the Buckeye State helped develop the guidelines, according to a news release.
“By implementing these minimum requirements and implementing best practices, our higher education communities can continue to educate students and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” DeWine said.
As of Thursday, Ohio reported 61,331 “confirmed and probable” cases of COVID-19 and 3,006 “confirmed and probable” deaths from COVID. The state has announced pop-up testing sites across Ohio where residents can receive a free COVID-19 test.
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Todd DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square.