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Morning Headlines: Mask mandate lifted in Cleveland schools; Ohio prepares for Ukrainian refugees

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The Cleveland Metropolitan School District has decided to drop its mask mandate. The decision comes one week after CEO Eric Gordon said the policy would remain in place but not be enforced. He now says masks are recommended but not required.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, March 9:

  • Mask mandate lifted in Cleveland schools
  • Ohio prepares for Ukrainian refugees
  • Lawmakers rush to extend overseas absentee ballots deadline
  • Erosion shuts down some Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs
  • CAK adds more flights

Mask mandate lifted in Cleveland schools
(WKSU) -- The Cleveland Metropolitan School District has decided to drop its mask mandate. The decision comes one week after CEO Eric Gordon said the policy would remain in place but not be enforced. He now says masks are recommended but not required. Ohio's capital has also dropped its indoor mask mandate. And Columbus city schools, Ohio's largest district, announced Monday that it’s dropped its mask mandate. Ohio State University says masks will be optional in most indoor spaces on campus beginning Friday.

Ohio prepares for Ukrainian refugees
(Ideastream Public Media) -- State agencies and organizations will start planning to assist Ukrainian refugees at a summit in Northeast Ohio next week. Gov. Mike DeWine says resettlement agencies, faith-based organizations, charities, and more will find out their role and how to assess what the needs of Ukrainians may be. Ohio Job and Family Services has a refugee program that works with local agencies to provide capacity information to the federal government and also helps refugees with economic and social adjustments upon arrival. Since 2018, more than 500 Ukrainians have been resettled in Ohio, mostly in Cleveland.

Lawmakers rush to extend overseas absentee ballots deadline
(AP) — Ohio lawmakers are rushing to extend the deadline for the return of overseas absentee ballots as debate over new state legislative maps continues. The move comes after Ohio election officials raised serious concerns about their ability to carry out a successful primary election on May 3. Those officials cite the already tight timeline due to still-unresolved state legislative maps. The state Senate unanimously approved a measure Tuesday allowing overseas ballots to be processed up to 20 days after the primary. The measure, which largely affects military personnel, is expected to go before the Ohio House on Wednesday.

Erosion shuts down some Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs
(Beacon Journal) -- Significant erosion along the Cuyahoga River has prompted the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to cancel all runs on its scenic route through the National Park through May 1. The Beacon Journal reports the railway is halting passenger service to and from Akron Northside Station and Peninsula Depot as well as stops for hikers, bicyclists, and kayakers. A shortened ride from the Rockside Station in Independence will continue on weekends.

CAK adds more flights
(WKSU) -- More direct flights have been added to Akron-Canton Airport. Breeze Airways announced year-round nonstop service to Nashville beginning in May and Hartford, Connecticut in June. It comes a week after Allegiant announced nonstop service to destination sites in Florida and the Hilton Head area.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.
Jon Nungesser is a multiple media journalist at Ideastream Public Media.