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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Morning Headlines: K-12 Schools to Continue Remote Teaching; State to Release More Data on COVID-19

photo of school classroom
Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. Mike DeWine says schools will continue remote learning for the rest of the academic year.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, April 21: 

  • K-12 schools to continue remote teaching;
  • State to release more data on COVID-19;
  • Ohio COVID-19 cases near 13,000;
  • Cuyahoga County expands child abuse reporting options;
  • State to study COVID-19 cases among African Americans;
  • Foodbank, dairy companies to provide cottage cheese;
  • Private labs clear backlog of coronavirus cases;
  • GOJO, Lubrizol donate hand sanitizer to hospitals;
  • Big Ten Conference task force to study college sports amid COVID-19;

K-12 schools to continue remote teaching
Ohio K-12 schools will continue to teach remotely for the rest of the academic year. Gov. Mike DeWine extended the order Monday that was set to expire May 1. DeWine said parents and administrators expressed concerns about the virus and said it isn't worth sending students back to school with a few weeks left. No decisions have been made about fall. DeWine said they're considering the idea of a blended curriculum, where districts could choose to have in-person classes as well as remote learning.

State to release more data on COVID-19
Gov. Mike DeWine said the state will make more data available to the public, including information from hospitals. Starting next week, a list will be up on the Ohio Department of Health's website showing how many health care workers at each facility tested positive for the coronavirus. DeWine also said more information will soon be available about nursing homes and assisted-living communities. The department took down a list of confirmed cases at those facilities late last week after finding inconsistencies with the data. DeWine said he hopes this information will be up by Wednesday.

Ohio COVID-19 cases near 13,000
There are nearly 13,000 total COVID-19 cases in the state — an 11% increase since Sunday. That includes confirmed as well as probable cases under a new definition from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. It's the second-highest increase reported in a day. More than 500 people have died and 2,600 remain hospitalized. The increase in cases is attributed to mass testing inside jails. More than 2,400 inmates and 240 staff members have tested positive. 

Cuyahoga County expands child abuse reporting options
Cuyahoga County is expanding child abuse complaints and neglect to include Facebook, email (protecting-cuyahoga-kids@jfs.ohio.gov) and the county's website. Previously, the only formal way to file a complaint was through a hotline: 216-696-KIDS. The new reporting methods are in response to schools and daycares being closed for the rest of the academic year. The county is encouraging children and teens to reach out if they are at risk of abuse and can't leave their homes to make a call. Other Ohio cities have taken similar measures. Columbus residents can reach out to the city's Domestic Violence and Stalking Unit through text messaging: 

State to study high number of COVID-19 cases among African Americans 
The state is forming a task force to figure out why COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting African Americans, who make up 20% of the state’s nearly 13,000 confirmed cases. In Cuyahoga County, 20% of deaths were African American. The Minority Health Strike Force plans to narrow down causes and find solutions, such as better access to health care. The group said the disparity highlights racial inequalities in socioeconomic circles that influence access to critical resources.

Foodbank, dairy companies to provide cottage cheese
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is partnering with Dairy Farmers of America and Wooster-based Daisy to provide Ohio families with 120,000 pounds of cottage cheese. The cheese will be made from surplus milk and donated to hunger relief programs throughout the state. Dairy farmers have seen a steep drop in demand because of the coronavirus, forcing them to dump milk. The food bank and 500 hunger relief programs have seen a more than 100% increase in demand since March. 

Private labs clear backlog of coronavirus cases
Private labs can once again accept coronavirus tests after clearing a backlog of cases. Gov. Mike DeWine ordered hospitals to start sending tests to larger systems earlier this month because labs weren't reporting results fast enough. However, testing itself remains an issue. It's been prioritized for high-risk patients and health care workers. Some businesses are calling for expanded testing once the state begins to reopen May 1. 

GOJO, Lubrizol donate hand sanitizer to hospitals
Akron-based GOJO and Wickliffe-based Lubrizol Corp are donating 16,000 liters of hand sanitizer to hospitals in Cuyahoga, Summit and Wayne counties. That's nearly 65,000 8-ounce bottles. The companies will provide each patient room with 1 liter of hand sanitizer through May. Lubrizol produces the thickening agent for GOJO's Purell. Both companies had to ramp up production in recent months because of the pandemic. Lubrizol has also partnered with Nike to create face shields and air-purifying respirators for hospitals.

Big Ten Conference task force to study college sports amid COVID-19
The Big Ten Conference has formed a council to help decide the future college sports in the wake of COVID-19. It will have one member from each of the conference’s 14 schools, including Ohio State's Dr. Susan Koletar, the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases. The task force will meet weekly to plan best practices and make decisions about fall sports. The group had been a part of the decision to cancel winter and spring sports competitions.