This afternoon, a Stay at Home Order (“Order”) was issued by Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, mandating residents stay at home and non-essential businesses close except as otherwise provided in the Order. The Order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 23, 2020 and remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 6, 2020 unless it is rescinded or modified prior to its expiration.
Educational institutions (including public and private pre-K-12 schools, colleges, and universities) are defined as exempt essential businesses. The prior order regarding closure of schools remains in effect. Below, we highlight relevant portions of the Order.
Leaving Home for Essential Activities is Permitted
Employees are authorized to leave their residences to perform essential activities, including performing work for a school. Under the Order, each school district should determine its essential functions and identify employees and/or contractors necessary to perform these functions. Employers are to allow as many employees as possible to work from home.
Individuals are permitted to travel to schools to receive materials for distance learning, to receive meals, and for other similar services.
Providing Food Services is Still Permitted
Schools may continue providing meals to those in need, so long as the food is provided on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Districts may not permit food to be eaten at the pick-up site or any other gathering site.
Minimum Basic Operations are Permitted to Maintain School Districts
The Order permits employees to perform activities necessary to maintain the condition of the school district (e.g., processing payroll and other employee benefits, paying bills, indoor and outdoor maintenance) and to facilitate the district’s remote work (e.g., administrative and/or technology functions that can only be performed on site) so long as they follow social distancing requirements.
The Order mandates the closure of children’s play centers and playgrounds. Districts whose playgrounds are used by the public should post signage advising the public of this closure.
Social Distancing Requirements
When your district engages in the activities described above, it must adhere to social distancing requirements. This includes: (1) designating six-foot distances with signage, tape, or by other means for customers and employees to maintain appropriate distance; (2) having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers; (3) implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers; and (4) posting hours online and indicating how best to contact the district.
As a reminder, issues related to COVID-19 are fluid and subject to rapid change. Additional information about Coronavirus and the State’s response can be found here.
This communication is intended as general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If advice is required, please contact any of our attorneys on our cell phones, at (614) 222-8686, or via email.