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Keeping schools closed is prudent

Gov. Mike DeWine is eager to get the state’s economy moving again in a measured manner. He has cautioned there may be setbacks in the effort to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

On Monday, he took a giant step to avoid that: DeWine announced public schools in Ohio will remain closed for the remainder of the current academic year. Let’s face it, we knew it was coming.

COVID-19 seems to be far less harmful to children than older adults. But for that very reason — that they can carry and spread the virus without showing symptoms themselves — reopening schools would be risky. It could put tens of thousands of residents at enormous risk including teaching and other schools staff members.

Some see reopening schools as a first step back to “normalcy.” But DeWine is right to understand it may be one of the last steps if Ohio is to avoid a new outbreak.

Still, thanks to modern technology, plenty of virtual learning has been taking place throughout all of our school districts. Nowadays, teaching and learning can occur, even for youngsters, outside of a conventional brick-and-mortar classroom. But this has made it very incumbent on parents/guardians to monitor and encourage such at-home activities.

It is sad events that many look forward to each year and admittedly take for granted such as proms, after-proms, commencements and graduation parties will — if held at all — be done in completely different manners. For instance, Salem Schools announced Tuesday that the seniors will be part of a virtual commencement. Good for those administrators having a plan at the ready and being proactive. We are sure other schools will follow.

Let us hope that scant months from now a fresh “normal” school year returns. With all that it brings such as classrooms full of eager students, football Friday nights and other sports and band shows. What a welcome relief all of that would provide.

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