Ohio Will Not Mandate Masks in Schools

Saying he does not believe he has the authority to mandate masks in Ohio public schools, Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday turned that decision over to local school boards and parents.

DeWine, along with other state health officials and physicians, almost pleaded with parents to either have their children vaccinated or wear masks as the beginning of the school year draws near and a new COVID-19 variant is causing increased infections.

“I do not believe I have the ability today to mandate [masks in schools]. There is not the appetite in this state for that kind of a mandate,” DeWine said. “We are at a point in the pandemic where information is out there but these decisions must be left to the local community and must be left to the parents.”

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Renacci Calls for Full Investigation of All Sources of FirstEnergy Contributions to DeWine Campaign, Including Ohio Republican Party

  MEDINA, Ohio – Republican gubernatorial challenger Jim Renacci has asked for a full investigation of the flow of FirstEnergy Corp.’s political contributions into the 2018 campaign of Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) in the wake of the Akron-based electric utility’s $230 million settlement of public bribery charges with the Department…

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Ohio Communities Gain Control of Wind, Solar Projects

Three wind turbines

Local communities in Ohio got a little more power regarding renewable energy projects after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law that addresses wind and solar projects.

DeWine made Senate Bill 52 law and gave power to county boards on whether to allow or prevent certification of wind and solar projects. The legislation also establishes decommissioning requirements for certain wind and solar facilities.

“One of the most important things we can do as state legislators is to listen to the input of our fellow constituents,” Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickery, said Monday after DeWine signed the bill. “I can confidently tell you that Ohioans within Seneca County vehemently spoke out against a wind project being built within their communities – Senate Bill 52 being signed into law solidifies their right to local control over these types of projects.”

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Ohio Abortion Clinic Threw Dismembered Baby in Dumpster, Pro-Life Group Claims

Ohio Abortion Clinic

A pro-life group has accused an Ohio abortion facility of throwing a dismembered, aborted baby away in a dumpster.

Ohio Right to Life said Wednesday it found the remains of an aborted baby at about 17 weeks gestation discarded in dumpster behind Ohio Women’s Center (NEOWC) abortion clinic. The clinic, which has not responded to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation, denied that it improperly disposed of fetal remains.

“Ohio Right to Life is heartbroken and appalled by the abortion industry’s utter disregard for human life,” Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said in a statement. “This child suffered doubly at the hands of the abortion industry: first, by being subjected to a brutal death by dismemberment and second by the degradation of his or her broken body being dumped into the trash like garbage.”

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Study: Ohio COVID-19 Vaccine Lottery Failed to Increase Rates

Giving away millions of federal tax dollars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in college scholarships did nothing to improve Ohio’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, a recent study concluded.

Those results have Democratic leaders saying the state needs to do more to address vaccine hesitancy and deal with what they call root causes of Ohio’s stagnant vaccination rate.

The study, conducted by the Boston University School of Medicine using information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concluded reports that the state’s Vax-a-Million lottery program increased rates failed to factor in vaccinations expanded to ages 12-15.

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Renacci Encourages DeWine to ‘Come Clean’ on Knowledge of Ohio’s Corruption Scheme

Former U.S. Representative and GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Renacci called on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to “come clean” to voters on his knowledge of and potential involvement in corruption allegations that have become national news.

“What did DeWine know about the nuclear plant bailout scheme, and when did he know it?” Renacci questioned in his opinion piece published in The Columbus Dispatch.

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Signs Executive Order to Allow College Athletes to Earn Compensation

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order on Monday that will allow college athletes within Ohio to profit off their name, image and likeness.

The executive order comes in response to a bill in the state legislature stalling after the Ohio House of Representatives added an amendment to the bill that would ban transgender athletes from joining female teams in both high school and college sports.

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Ohio Vaccine Lottery Ends with Mixed Results

Ohio has ended its drive to encourage residents to receive the coronavirus vaccine — awarding $1 million prizes to 5 different individuals and additional college scholarships to teenagers. 

The lottery-style giveaway used taxpayer funds to award the prizes and paved the way for many states to follow its example. 

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GOP Gubernatorial Challenger Renacci Labels DeWine as ‘Ultimate Never-Trumper’

GOP primary challenger Jim Renacci released a new ad on Wednesday labeling Ohio Governor Mike DeWine as the “ultimate Never-Trumper.”

“Mike DeWine is not only the ultimate corrupt political insider, but he’s also the ultimate Never Trumper with a record of undermining President Trump’s America First policies,” Renacci claimed in a statement.

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Primary Challenger Jim Renacci Accuses Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine of ‘Defending’ Violent Protesters

Mike DeWine in a political ad

Jim Renacci, former U.S. Representative and GOP gubernatorial candidate, released an ad on Tuesday, accusing Governor Mike DeWine of defending violent protestors and placing them ahead of small businesses throughout Ohio.

“While mobs and violent protesters were burning our state down, Mike DeWine defended them and did nothing to protect us from their looting and destruction. Instead, he implemented Andrew Cuomo’s playbook and put the mob first at the expense of Ohioans who were being terrorized,” Renacci said in a statement detailing the new ad.

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Report: Vax-A-Million Lottery Not Spurring Vaccinations Growth

Millions of dollars, college scholarships and other cash and prize incentives may not be enough to encourage more people around the country to get the COVID-19 vaccination, at least if numbers in Ohio are any indication.

The Associated Press reported the number of new Ohioans receiving at least the first dose of a vaccine fell by nearly half after the state announced its first $1 million and college scholarship winners. After Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement of the vaccine lottery in early May, the report said vaccination numbers increased by 43% over the previous week.

The report said the number of people receiving the vaccine from May 27 through June 2 dropped about 43%. March and April were the state’s highest months for the number of vaccines, according to The AP.

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Former Congressman Jim Renacci Officially Launches Campaign for Ohio Governor

Jim Renacci, former Congressman and successful Ohio businessman, officially launched his campaign for Governor of Ohio in what promises to be a bruising 2022 GOP primary battle against incumbent Mike DeWine.

“This election, we have a choice to make. Do we want to become an economic powerhouse again and attract jobs and opportunity? Or do we keep going down the devastating DeWine route?” Renacci asked in a video explaining his motivation for launching the campaign.

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Former Congressman Jim Renacci Announces Plan to ‘Put Ohio First’

Jim Renacci

Jim Renacci is calling for a change in Ohio policies that are currently in place, which he argues are leading the state in the wrong direction. 

The former Congressman released his own detailed plan to “put Ohio first” and reverse the current policies trends overtaking the state. 

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Ohio State Lawmaker to Introduce Bill to Stop Vaccine Lottery

Ohio State Representative Jenna Powell (R-Arcanum) is drafting legislation to introduce which would ban any type of “vaccine lottery” in the state.

Normal bills that pass the legislature have a 3-month period in which they are enacted. However, Powell is set to include an emergency clause to allow the law to go into effect immediately, if enacted.

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Renacci Blasts DeWine’s Ohio Vaccine Lottery

Former U.S. Representative Jim Renacci blasted Governor Mike DeWine’s vaccine initiative to giveaway $1 million to 5 random, vaccinated Ohioans. 

Renacci’s criticism was fueled by the announcement that New York’s controversial Governor Andrew Cuomo will be following DeWine’s trend. In New York, people who receive a dose of one of the available coronavirus vaccines will be given a free, scratch off lottery ticket. Individuals can win money ranging from $20 to $5 million. 

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Ohio Gov. DeWine’s Chief of Staff to Step Down

Governor Mike DeWine’s office is experiencing a shake up in his staff. DeWine’s chief of staff, Laurel Dawson is stepping down to assume a different role within his administration. 

The sudden move has prompted Michael Hall, DeWine’s current policy director, to be promoted to the head position.

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Attorney General Believes Ohio’s Vaccination Raffle is Legal as Lawmakers Question Use of Taxpayer Money

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to encourage more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine by offering millions of taxpayer dollars and college scholarships through a raffle program appears to be legal, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said.

Yost tweeted the opinion, but he stopped short of saying he believed DeWine’s plan was a was a good idea.

“About the $1M [vaccination] lottery: I heard about it yesterday. It doesn’t appear to violate state law, though it depends on how it’s designed,” Yost’s tweet read. “Just because a thing may be legally done does not mean it should be. The wisdom of it is a question for the Governor and the General Assembly.”

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Not One State Reported a Sizable Increase in Coronavirus Cases Last Week

Sick person talking to CDC employee

For the first time in months, not one state reported a dramatic weekly increase in coronavirus cases.

While average daily cases fell by less than 10% in 11 states, 37 states saw cases fall by over 10% and just two states had cases marginally increase, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States also averaged fewer than 40,000 daily cases last week, a 21% drop from the week prior and the lowest total since September.

Death and hospitalization rates have also plummeted nationwide. The U.S. has averaged 600 deaths per day, the lowest point in approximately 10 months. If the number continues to fall the nation could soon hit its lowest point of the entire pandemic, according to the Associated Press.

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DeWine Offers Taxpayer Money for Giveaways to Vaccinated Ohioans

In a state-wide address, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday that individuals who get vaccinated will be entered for a chance to win a drawing of $1 million — 5 different winners will be selected. 

DeWine noted that the money to be given away comes from federal Coronavirus Relief funds. 

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Former Trump Campaign Manager Advising Potential GOP Primary Challenger to Gov. Mike DeWine

Brad Parscale, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, is currently advising former Representative Jim Renacci on a potential primary challenge to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, according to a report from NBC News and confirmed by Parscale. 

Parscale said he is serving Renacci in an unpaid role. 

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Ohio Democrats Propose New Gun Control Legislation

Mike DeWine

Ohio Democrats continue to criticize the state’s new stand your ground law and unveiled a package of gun control legislation Monday that goes further than a proposal from Gov. Mike DeWine that has seen no movement in nearly two years.

Monday’s call comes 20 months since a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, and less than a week after another one in Indianapolis. It also comes nearly two weeks after a law that removes the duty to retreat from Ohioans to defend themselves with deadly force went into effect.

“Ohioans have spoken loudly and clearly that we need to do something to end gun violence. Democrats are listening to you, the people of Ohio who overwhelmingly support commonsense solutions to keep our kids and communities safe,” House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron, said Monday at a news conference. “In the 20 months since Dayton, shootings have gone up, not down. We need reform now to ensure the promise of safety and security for all Ohioans.”

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DeWine Signs Partial Repeal of Ohio’s Controversial Nuclear Power Bailout

Nuclear power plant

A little more than eight months after the billion-dollar government bailout of the state’s nuclear energy industry led the arrest of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, Gov. Mike DeWine officially put it to rest.

DeWine signed House Bill 128 into law late Wednesday. It repeals the nuclear provisions of the infamous House Bill 6.

Gone is the bailout for the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants in northern Ohio. Also eliminated was the ability for FirstEnergy to have its revenue levels relatively the same even during years when energy consumption decreases. HB 128 directed refunds of money already collected under the guarantee.

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Law Enforcement Agencies Meeting Ohio’s New Minimum Standards

More than 500 agencies in Ohio have adopted the state’s new law enforcement minimum standards to be state certified, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.

Ohio changed its standards after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota last spring and the subsequent protests.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety’s 2021 Law Enforcement Certification Report showed 529 Ohio agencies have adopted fully the primary standards, which include new ones created last year. Eleven agencies are in the process of adopting and being certified.

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DeWine Signs $8.3B, Two-Year Ohio Transportation Budget

Highway with cars

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine praised the $8.3 billion state transportation budget he signed into law despite it missing the increased vehicle fees and massive cuts for public transportation he proposed.

The two-year budget, House Bill 74, provides money for road and bridge construction and maintenance, as well as other transportation priorities established by the committees in the House and Senate, along with DeWine.

“The budget ensures that we can continue to maintain and invest in Ohio’s roadways,” DeWine said Wednesday. “Ohio’s transportation system continues to be a critical part of our economy, moving materials and people safely across our state. This budget advances our commitment to invest in state and locally-maintained roadways.”

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EXCLUSIVE: One Year Into Mandates Ohio Still Can’t Back Up Policies When Under Oath, Maurice Thompson Says

Monday will mark one year since Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the statewide stay at home order signed by then-Director of the Ohio Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton.

Soon after, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law began litigating to challenge the lawfulness of the orders, “winning many cases,” according to Maurice Thompson, an attorney for the firm.

“One year later, the Department of Health – when under oath – still cannot justify the “Director’s Stay at Home Orders,” said Thompson in a press release similarly titled that he shared exclusively with The Ohio Star on Friday morning.

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Report: Energy Company at Center of FBI Case Funneled $1 Million to DeWine Election Efforts

It’s been over seven months since the FBI announced a criminal complaint stemming from Ohio House Bill 6 (HB6). Arrests were made for what feds call a bribery and racketeering plan bankrolled by First Energy Solutions to elect state representatives and a House Speaker that would ensure the bill passed (and stopped efforts to repeal it) – giving a $1.3 billion bailout to two Ohio nuclear energy plants.
A new report lays out the $1M relationship between First Energy companies and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s campaign.

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Governor DeWine Extends Ohio Curfew Indefinitely: The Way Out of This Is the Vaccine

Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday that the temporary curfew he imposed in Ohio the day before would be extended past Saturday, and he gave little indication when or if the curfew would be lifted at all.

Word of the extension came at the end of DeWine’s press briefing as a response to the first question asked by media.

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Ohio General Assembly Passes Legislation to Protect Against Surprise Health Care Bills

The Ohio General Assembly made history Tuesday and took a step to reduce health care costs for Ohioans. All that’s left is a signature from Gov. Mike DeWine.

When the Ohio Senate voted to support Substitute House Bill 388, which passed the Ohio House in May, it put into motion what would be a prohibition on surprise or balance billing. If DeWine signs the bill, Ohio will become the first state in the nation to ban such practices.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine, Who Owns Pfizer Stock, Has Received $22,700 in Contributions from the Drug Company Since 2018

  Governor DeWine unexpectedly called a press conference on Monday.  It was the day the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Ohio and DeWine called it “historic,” our “hope” and the “beginning of the end” of COVID.  A video of he and First Lady Fran DeWine can be viewed below as the…

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Makes Good on Promise to Veto Oversight of Health Orders

Saying he has the backing of health care professionals and business leaders, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a bill that would give the General Assembly oversight over health orders.

In a statement of reasons for the veto of Senate Bill 311, DeWine, a Republican, said medical experts think it restricts public health officials’ ability to react to public health threats and is “not in the best interest of protecting the health and safety of all Ohioans.”

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DeWine Signs Bill Expanding School Choice to Low-Income Students

Legislation to expand Ohio’s school choice eligibility was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday.

Senate Bill 89 will expand the state’s EdChoice Program, which allows students to apply for vouchers for private schools if they are in low-performing schools or low-income districts. Supporters say this bill provides more opportunities for students and parents, but opponents say it diverts potential public resources away from public schools and toward private schools.

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Ohio’s Largest City Wants to Cap Delivery Fees for Restaurants

With Ohioans facing an ongoing curfew and continued pressure from Gov. Mike DeWine to stay at home, the state’s largest city plans to take steps to help both restaurants and their customers.

In an effort to help small businesses and the restaurant community, the Columbus City Council announced plans for legislation to cap third-party delivery services, according to President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown and Council President Shannon G. Hardin.

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Ohio Health Care Workers Free from COVID-19 Civil Liability

Health care centers and medical professionals are free from liability related to the COVID-19 pandemic under a new Ohio law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Among other things, the new law temporarily grants qualified civil immunity to health care isolation centers to protect medical professionals from liability claims throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It also expands the authority of emergency medical technicians to provide medical services in hospitals, if needed.

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Testimony Begins for Bills Aimed at Stopping Ohio Governor’s Orders

While in one area of the Ohio Statehouse lawmakers took aim at limiting Gov. Mike DeWine’s authority, in another area others began attacking specific orders issued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from bills that would require General Assembly approval for statewide stay-at-home orders, Ohio state senators held hearings on a bill that would end DeWine’s orders to stop alcohol sales at restaurants and bars at 10 p.m. and on another that placed limitations on county fairs.

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Two Bills to Limit Ohio Governor’s Authority Appear Before Committee

While Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was announcing a statewide curfew to slow the spread of COVID-19, more than 97 people submitted written testimony supporting a bill that would strip authority from the governor and the Ohio Department of Health to issue orders.

Doctors, nurses and regular citizens provided written and oral testimony in support of House Bill 618, legislation that would make any special or standing order from the governor seeking to prevent the spread of contagious or infectious diseases advisory only. If HB618 passes, any such order from the governor would have no legal effect unless approved by the General Assembly.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Threatens to Close Bars, Restaurants, Gyms If COVID-19 Cases Keep Rising

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday said the state could close bars, restaurants and fitness centers beginning Nov. 19 if the number of new coronavirus cases continues to rise.

“We have not made a final decision on that,” DeWine said of the threatened closures. “If things don’t change in a week, we will have to do this … we’re not trying to pick on bars and restaurants. It’s the last thing we want to do.”

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Ohio Launching a New Unit to Ensure Mask Compliance as State Sees Record Number of Cases

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is doubling down on a mask mandate, and the state is launching a new unit to make sure businesses comply with the requirement.

The move comes as Ohio faces a record number of hospitalizations and intensive care admissions because of COVID-19. Roughly 3,000 Ohioans are hospitalized, including more than 700 people in the ICU, and during the first week of November, 104 Ohioans with the virus died.

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Gov. Mike DeWine Re-Imposes Statewide Mandatory Mask Mandate

  COLUMBUS, Ohio – Governor Mike DeWine made time during Wednesday night’s special broadcast to laud Pfizer and their progress on a coronavirus vaccine before effectively re-instating a mandatory mask mandate across the state. “On Monday, our country received some very promising news regarding a Coronavirus vaccine that Pfizer is…

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DeWine Praises President for Early COVID Action, Says Trump Will Win Election

During his twice-weekly COVID presser, Governor DeWine was asked on Thursday who he thought was best equipped to deal with the COVID problem, Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

DeWine responded, “Look, I think the president has not gotten enough credit for what he has done in regard to making the decision very, very early to invest real big money into the drug companies for them to do the research they need to do. We don’t know when that’s coming but we hope it’s coming soon. And that will make a huge, huge difference.”

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Ohio Restaurant, Bars May Get More Flexibility for Consumers

Ohio restaurant and bar owners will have more flexibility and a chance to generate more revenue if Gov. Mike DeWine signs a recently passed bill into law.

The Business Expansion and Safety Act, passed by both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate, heads to DeWine. It intends to help bring revenue and safety back to businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to bill sponsor State Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron.

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New Ohio Laws Expand Courts Jurisdiction, Deals with Addiction

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed several new bills into law Wednesday.

The new laws include the expansion of the jurisdiction of Ohio courts and stopping state officials from interfering with religious services. House Bill 272 prohibits “a public official from ordering the closure of all places of worship in a geographic area,” and stops public officials “from changing the time, place, or manner of conducting an election, except in certain circumstances.”

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Letter to the Editor: Athletics and Masks

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of watching my 2 children compete in a cross-country meet. They were thrilled to be able to compete! It was an absolutely beautiful weekend!  The place of attendance provided a tremendous amount of open, green space for spectators to easily socially distance. There were acres upon acres of a wide open, lush countryside; a magnificent landscape from which I could view my children as they participated.  Thank you for allowing these students to have a season. However, I feel that our school, as well as many other schools, are over-reaching and over-extending a couple of the Health Order recommendations; to the extent I feel such strict requirements may not be in the best overall health interest for athletes.

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Ohio Public Health Advisory System – Keeping COVID Out of Nursing Homes a Mark Against Counties

This is part four in an eight-part series on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (OPHAS) – the color-coded system designed to give a county-by-county threat assessment of COVID spread in Ohio.

This article will further examine indicator three (of seven) in the OPHAS: the proportion of cases not in congregate settings.

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Governor DeWine Requires Schools to Report K-12 Student COVID Cases to Government

Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday his order requiring all K-12 schools to report COVID-19 cases to their local health department. Schools must do so within 24 hours of notification of a positive test result from a student, teacher, staff member or coach.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order under DeWine. The order requires each school to appoint a coordinator to report positive cases, and to create a “reopening or pandemic operating plan.” It also requires schools to notify all parents and guardians of case reports. The order did not mention a requirement to tell the staff.

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State Orders Public Colleges and Universities to Create COVID-19 Quarantine Shelters

Ohio will now mandate public colleges and universities to create non-congregate sheltering space for quarantining coronavirus patients.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order Sunday “to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” alongside Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted.

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Order Would Require Ohio Schools Report COVID-19 Cases

Ohio officials plan to issue an order mandating schools put in place “a reporting mechanism” for parents to report cases of COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine announced during a news conference.

“Prompt reporting to the public, the parents, will help prevent a potential further spread among students and staff, and it will also let the public know what’s going on,” DeWine said during a news conference.

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DeWine Calls on Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to Send $1.5 Billion in Dividend Payments

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wants the board of directors for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to approve sending up to $1.5 billion in dividend payments to employers across the state.

If approved, it would be the second dividend of $1 billion or more since April, DeWine said during a Thursday press conference. The $1.5 billion totals the premiums paid during the 2019 policy year, and officials say the payout is possible because of several factors, including a lower number of claims and strong returns on investment.

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