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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Morning Headlines: Over 1/3 of Ohio Students to Return to Class Full Time; Kasich to Speak at DNC

A photo of John Kasich
ALLEGRA BOVERMAN
/
NHPR
Former Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich has been confirmed as a speaker at the Democratic National Convention. Kasich is scheduled to speak on Monday.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, August 12:

  • Over 1/3 of Ohio students to return to class full time
  • Summit County auto parts maker closes, laying off 161
  • After 3 months, Cleveland small businesses still waiting for loans
  • Ohio dropped from NY’s travel advisory list
  • Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse to serve as polling site
  • Big Ten pulls plug on fall football amid pandemic
  • Trial again delayed for Akron man accused of 9 arson deaths
  • Kasich confirmed as DNC speaker
  • Tri-C to offer COVID-19 testing
  • Cuyahoga County’s equity council holds first meeting
  • Prisons director returns to work after COVID-19 recovery

Over 1/3 of Ohio students to return to class full time
About 38% of public school students will return to the classroom full time, according to Ohio Department of Education data. That’s 325 school districts. Fifty-five school districts plan to begin remote and 154 are planning for a hybrid model. Cuyahoga and Summit county health departments have recommended school district begin the year fully online.

Summit County auto parts maker closes, laying off 161
A Summit County auto parts maker is shutting down, laying off 161 employees. Airtex-ASC in Green
is part of Cleveland-based Trico Group. The company notified the state last week that the permanent layoffs will take place sometime around the first two weeks of October.

After 3 months, Cleveland small businesses still waiting for loans
About 60 Cleveland small businesses say they’re still waiting for loans that were approved nearly three months ago to help them survive the pandemic. Cleveland.com reports Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration began distributing checks within the last two weeks, but that just 45 of the 113 businesses have completed the paperwork needed to comply with requirements. Some Cleveland city councilmembers are expressing frustration, after the first round of loans of up to $10,000 were announced in May.

Ohio dropped from NY’s travel advisory list
Ohio has been removed from the state of New York’s travel advisory list. Ohio was added to the list July 14, requiring residents to complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Currently, there are 31 states on the New York’s travel advisory list, plus the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse to serve as polling site
Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, home of the Cavs, will serve as a polling location for the November General Election. Only registered voters residing in precincts I, L and Q in Cleveland Ward 3 will be able to cast an in-person ballot at the FieldHouse. The arena will also host National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22, where Cuyahoga County residents will be able to register to vote.

Big Ten pulls plug on fall football amid pandemic
The Big Ten Conference won't play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19. The announcement by the Big Ten comes six days after the conference that includes programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State released a revised league-only schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential coronavirus disruptions. Instead, all fall sports in the Big Ten have been called off and a spring season will be explored.

Trial again delayed for Akron man accused of 9 arson deaths
The latest capital murder trial of an Akron man accused of killing nine people in two separate arsons has been delayed until January. Stanley Ford had gone on trial in February, but it was soon halted by the coronavirus pandemic and the judge eventually declared a mistrial in June. A pretrial hearing was then scheduled for this month, and the jury selection process was also due to begin. But that will now start Jan. 19. The Akron resident is accused of killing two people in 2016 and seven people, including five children, in 2017.

Kasich confirmed as DNC speaker
Former Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich has been confirmed as a speaker at the Democratic National Convention. The convention also will feature many of presumptive nominee Joe Biden’s 2020 primary rivals, congressional leaders close to Biden and even everyday Americans, including some who supported President Donald Trump four years ago. This year's convention will be virtual next week. Kasich will speak Monday.

Tri-C to offer COVID-19 testing
Cuyahoga Community College and Care Alliance Health Center are offering COVID-19 testing to Tri-C students, faculty and staff, as well as residents. Drive-thru and walk-up testing dates will be offered at four Tri-C sites to anyone regardless of their symptom status, insurance status or ability to pay. Individuals will not be charged for the test. Testing hours and dates will be posted at tri-c.edu/covidtest.

Cuyahoga County’s equity council holds first meeting
Cuyahoga County’s newly created Advisory Council on Equity held its first meeting Tuesday. The group was put together as part of the county’s declaration that racism is a public health crisis. It includes 17 community leaders who are being asked to come up with a list of changes to county laws and policies. Cleveland.com reports some members expressed concerns about whether the timetable might be too fast.

Prisons director returns to work after COVID-19 recovery
The state’s top prisons director is back on the job after recovering from the coronavirus. Annette Chambers-Smith, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, was cleared of the virus, which she first tested positive for on July 27. She said she experienced mild symptoms of the disease.