Joint Statement from Management and Labor Leaders on School Closures

received from Scott DiMauro, President, Ohio Education Association:

Ohio’s education community – educators, education support personnel, superintendents and local school boards – is united in its commitment to ensuring the well-being of the students that we serve as we grapple with the spread of COVID-19 and its implications for public education. We applaud the strong leadership of Governor DeWine and his demonstrated willingness to make decisions that are in the best interest of Ohioans.

We are prepared to do whatever is necessary to adjust very quickly to the unprecedented reality of a global pandemic that threatens public health, has roiled our economy, and led to innumerable disruptions in our daily lives.

The Governor’s order to close all Ohio schools was a big step and we welcome the opportunity to work with Governor DeWine and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Paolo DeMaria, to chart a path forward for local school districts on how best to manage this pandemic.

Navigating these uncharted waters will require a lot of patience and creativity for everyone involved in decision-making at all levels. We know there are major structural impediments to having to switch to an online learning environment. But as Ohio’s education teams strive to implement creative solutions, your associations stand ready to assist in any way possible.

There are many questions that have no immediate answers. They include but are not limited to how missing days will be made up, how testing will be handled, and how accountability systems will be adjusted. Please know that your input is invaluable, and we will make every effort to be responsive to your needs. As questions are considered and answers forthcoming, we will share that information with you in a timely fashion.

Controlling the outbreak of the virus is extremely important to the health and safety of Ohioans. Being able to influence some control over the growth of the outbreak will allow our healthcare system to have a better chance of having the resources available to provide treatment and medical care for those who do contract the virus. Also, please remember that while children do not seem to be as impacted by contracting the virus, they are known to be carriers and can infect the adults with whom they interact. This can lead to devastating consequences for high-risk adults.

We ask that you do all you can to keep yourself healthy and safe, including hand-washing, cleaning surfaces, and social distancing. For more details on steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe, please refer to these guidelines from the Center for Disease Control.

Thank you for your leadership, your patience, and your commitment to the health and well-being of your students, staff, and community.

  • Melissa Cropper, President, Ohio Federation of Teachers
  • Scott DiMauro, President, Ohio Education Association
  • Sean Grayson, President, AFSCME Council 8
  • Kirk Hamilton, Executive Director, Buckeye Association of School Administrators
  • Rick Lewis, Executive Director, Ohio School Boards Association
  • Joe Rugola, Executive Director, Ohio Association of Public School Employees