Coronavirus | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine discussed the increasing number of coronavirus cases and how it could affect universities during a press conference Wednesday, Nov. 11.
An uncertain future for colleges
The governor covered higher education and how many colleges would switch to all-virtual learning after Thanksgiving, keeping that in place until the end of the Fall 2020 semester.
“I want to thank our colleges, our universities, for agreeing to not return to in-person classes after Thanksgiving, but to finish the semester remotely,” DeWine said. “The vast majority of schools have made this decision, and I also want to thank them for reducing the number of students on campus. That has made a significant difference in helping keep the cases lower and our campuses safer.”
Discussing whether face-to-face classes would return in 2021, DeWine was less than certain about whether they would occur.
“Unless we dramatically slow the community spread of this virus, our higher educational institutions in Ohio may have to remain virtual when school opens in January,” DeWine said. “With widespread COVID, they may have no choice.”
A surge in cases
This address occurred as Ohio experiences a third wave of cases and the number of daily coronavirus cases surges. Wednesday, 5,874 positive cases of the coronavirus were identified in Ohio, slightly less than the day before. Nov. 10 saw 6,508 cases identified in the state, smashing the record for new cases in a day.
As of Nov. 11, a total of 267,356 coronavirus cases have occurred in the state of Ohio.
DeWine cited the increase of small gatherings such as birthday parties, wedding receptions, and sleepovers.
“We have seen great tragedy associated with some of these events,” DeWine said.
New guidelines will be issued over the next few days in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus at these small gatherings, including the closure of open congregate areas. Attendees will also be required to stay in their seats and wear their masks unless they are eating or drinking.
DeWine also cited the failure of certain businesses to comply with the current mask order as another factor in the spread of the coronavirus, and mentioned that bars, restaurants and fitness centers could be ordered to close a week from Thursday if the number of cases continues to increase.
“Every retail employee has the right to work in an environment that is as safe as can be, which means all customers must wear masks,” said DeWine. “Further, each Ohioan who goes out to shop, wherever they go, they have the right to know that every store they enter, every door they go into to shop, will be safe and the people they encounter in that store will all be wearing.”
He reissued this order today with three added provisions. Each business must post a “face covering required” sign on all of its public entrances, and they are responsible for making sure that everyone in the store is wearing a face covering. A Retail Compliance Unit, led by agents from the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, will be formed to ensure that these businesses are complying with the order.
Quoting former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, DeWine called on all Ohioans to stay vigilant during these tough times.
“When you’re going through hell, keep going,” said DeWine. “Tonight, I ask you to keep going. Recommit to your individual efforts to stay safe, because what you do in your private lives affects everyone.”