By Andrea Cordle
To contain the spread of the Coronavirus, or COVID – 19, Ohio Governor Mike Dewine has ordered schools to close and has put limits on social gatherings. The circumstances surrounding area governments and other local entities’ response to the Coronavirus pandemic is subject to change as the situation is ongoing. As of the Westside Messenger’s deadline on March 17, this was the response from local entities:
South-Western City Schools District and Columbus City Schools
The South-Western City Schools District closed all its schools on March 13. The district released a statement on March 13 saying all indoor extracurricular events and activities are postponed or cancelled through April 2.
According to a release by Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise, the district plan is as follows:
• The first several days of closure will be treated as calamity days.
• March 24 through April 3 will be considered school days with content being delivered and shared electronically. Many of the learning activities will require students to create documents to be submitted for teacher feedback. Some of this will be graded activity.
• April 6-10 will remain as the district’s regularly scheduled spring break.
• The district leadership intends to evaluate the implementation of the electronic teaching and learning efforts before committing to continue this practice. District leaders will share this information in early April. There is the potential to schedule make-up days for the end of the school year if continued closure is required.
“Please note that electronic teaching and learning does not mirror an in-school day and coursework may be adjusted to be better suited for at-home learning. Though students will not be constrained by traditional learning hours, they will be required to complete activities and assignments,” said the release by Wise.
The district is working on a plan to assist families that need technology support.
“This situation has left us in new territory,” said Wise in the statement. “It is important for you to know we are acting quickly as situations arise. Plans may be adjusted, and we appreciate your cooperation and understanding.”
For more information, visit www.swcsd.us.
Columbus City Schools has cancelled classes effective March 16 through April 3.
Though the schools are closed, the district will offer meals for all children ages 18 and under Monday through Friday. The meals will be “grab and go” style. Children can pick up breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On the Westside, the meal pickup locations are at:
• West High School, 179 S. Powell Ave.
• Starling Pre-K-8, 145 S. Central Ave.
• Wedgewood Middle School, 3800 Briggs Road
For more information, visit www.ccsoh.us.
City of Columbus
Columbus Public Health announced the second confirmed COVID-19 case in Columbus On March 17. The patient is a 23-year-old woman who reportedly had underlying health conditions. She was treated at a local hospital.
“This patient appears to be our first case of community acquired – which means the source of the infection is unknown. The patient has not traveled or been exposed to anyone who has traveled to an area high in COVID-19 cases,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus health commissioner.
“Community spread of COVID-19 reminds us of the necessity of social distancing,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther. “As much as possible, residents are encouraged to stay home. Basic hygiene is critical: wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm, stay home if you are sick.”
The first case of COVID-19 in Columbus was announced on March 14. Franklin County has two additional cases, including a Columbus firefighter/EMT.
Columbus City Council has cancelled its upcoming council and zoning meetings for March 23, 30, and April 6. The next regular meeting is scheduled for April 20. Council will continue its duties remotely and encourages residents to reach out regarding issues in the community.
Columbus Parks and Recreation has closed all facilities through at least April 3. All programming, sporting events, classes and events will be canceled until further notice.
Southwest Public Libraries and Columbus Metropolitan Library
Southwest Public Libraries will close the Westland Area Library through at least April 6.
While the library is closed, patrons can access digital offerings through the library’s website. The book drops will be locked during the shutdown period. The library asks patrons to hold on to all materials until the facility opens. Hold and due dates have been adjusted. There will be no fines and reserves will not be sent back.
For more information, visit www.swpl.org.
Columbus Metropolitan Library will close all its library locations through at least April 6, including the Hilltop Branch.
Digital library resources are still available at columbuslibrary.org, including eBooks, magazines, movies and music. Additional changes in operation will be shared as the evolving public health situation continues to unfold.
About the Coronavirus
The signs and symptoms of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, may appear two to 14 days after exposure and could include fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms and are in contact with healthcare, law enforcement or EMS professionals, please advise them before they approach or interact with you.
Prevention is key and includes: washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds; when soap and water handwashing is not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol; avoid touching your eyes, nose mouth and face and avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing; stay home when sick; clean and sanitize surfaces frequently touched or handled and avoid attending large gatherings of people when able.
If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your primary care physician, Columbus Public Health at 614-645-1519 or the Ohio Department of Health at 1-833-427-5634.