Posted in: Education


Ohio Federal Court Issues Preliminary Ruling Denying Challenge to District’s Mask Mandate

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September 16, 2021  With students returning to in-person learning under the continuing backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, mask mandates have become a contentious issue as lawsuits are being filed across the country, including locally. With…

U.S. Department of Education Releases “Roadmap” to Return to In-Person Learning

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August 3, 2021 On August 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) released the “Return to School Roadmap,” a resource to students, educators, school districts and parents in preparation for the return to in-person learning…

Guidance Issued Regarding Districts’ Obligations to Students Suffering from “Long COVID” Under the IDEA and Section 504

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August 2, 2021 On July 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) published a joint resource to provide information about school districts’…

HB 110 Changes to Blended Learning

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July 30, 2021 One of the many changes associated with Ohio’s Biennial Budget, House Bill (HB) 110, includes revisions to the statutes addressing implementation of a Blended Learning Model. It’s important to be aware of these changes,…

CDC and State Department of Health Issue New COVID Guidance for Ohio School Districts

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July 28, 2021  On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued this update recommending “universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccinations…

HB 244 and COVID Considerations for the 2021 School Year

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July 21, 2021 On July 14, 2021, Governor DeWine signed Ohio House Bill (HB) 244, which prohibits public school districts and state institutions of higher education from requiring an individual to receive a vaccine that has not been granted…

Ohio H.B. 110 Allows for Creation of Online Learning Schools

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July 12, 2021 On July 1, 2021, Governor DeWine signed H.B. 110, Ohio’s 2022-2023 biennial budget, into law, which allows local, city, exempted village and joint vocational school districts (“school districts”) to request to use an “online…

Navigating ESSER Funds in an Ever-Changing COVID-19 Landscape

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June 2, 2021 Although the pandemic is seemingly subsiding in the U.S., public school districts in Ohio still face the challenge of how to use multiple forms of pandemic-related government funding. Notably, the task of navigating the permissible…

Governor DeWine Requires Schools to Continue Social Distancing and Mask Wearing

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May 18, 2021 On May 12, 2021, Governor DeWine announced public health orders such as capacity limits, social distancing and the mask mandate will come to an end, with the exception of those for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. …

Blended Learning: What you need to know before the July 1 deadline

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May 17, 2021  With districts still scrambling to determine how to continue online learning for the 2021-2022 school year and beyond, many are considering implementation of blended learning. Under Ohio law, “blended learning” means the…

Governor DeWine Announces Ohio Health Orders to End on June 2, 2021; Schools Left with Choice to Continue Requiring Masks

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May 17, 2021 Ohio’s health orders will end on June 2, 2021, more than a full year after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine first enacted the orders. Prior restrictions will remain in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, but all other…

School Districts Can Get Tax Relief for Certain Paid Leave Expenses

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May 4, 2021 It’s not your typical tax relief. And while it’s available for only a small window of time, it’s tax relief nonetheless. Last month, the IRS issued guidance explaining how employers, including school districts, can claim…

ODE Releases Guidance on Remote Learning for the 2021-22 School Year

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April 5, 2021 On April 1, 2021, the Ohio Department of Education (“ODE”) released much-anticipated guidance regarding remote learning options for the 2021-22 school year. While legislative action to address continuation of remote learning…

Property Tax Disputes Are Expected to Proliferate

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March 2, 2021  COVID-19 provides the perfect excuse for commercial real estate owners to challenge their property values this year.  Property owners will assert that, because revenue is down across the board, their property values should…

CDC Urges Schools to Open for In-Person Learning Safely and Soon

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February 18, 2021 Stressing the importance of in-person learning, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released guidance to open and operate K-12 schools in ways that mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (COVID). The CDC’s…

Ohio Releases Guidance for School Districts on Extended Learning Plans for Students

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February 15, 2021  The Ohio Department of Education released this FAQ bulletin to help public school districts learn more about Governor DeWine’s announcement from his press conference on February 9, 2021, to create extended learning plans…

FAQ: School Districts and the Coronavirus Vaccine

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January 13, 2021  As COVID-19 vaccines become more available, Ohio school districts will need to decide whether to implement mandatory immunization requirements for employees. Governor DeWine has prioritized school staff to begin receiving…

Coronavirus Relief Bill Signed Into Law

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December 29, 2020  On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 into law, which provides $900 billion in coronavirus relief and $1.4 trillion to fund the government.  Below is a summary of the bill’s…

Amended House Bill 404: Open Meetings, Local CARES Act Redistribution, License Deadlines and More

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November 23, 2020 When House Bill (“HB”) 197 went into effect last spring, during the initial phase of the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, it provided relief to Ohio school districts in many important areas of school functions. …

House Bill 404 Extends Temporary Virtual Meeting Authority

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November 19, 2020  With today’s passage of Ohio House Bill (“HB”) 404, the legislature officially has extended the effectiveness of the HB 197 provisions granting authority to public bodies to hold and attend meetings and conduct and…

Federal District Court Dismisses Class Action Against All U.S. School Districts

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November 18, 2020 A New York federal district court recently dismissed a class action lawsuit alleging every school district in the country conspired to deny services to special education students during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The court…

Ohio Legislature Passes Bill Extending Qualified Civil Immunity for COVID-Related Claims

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September 15, 2020  On September 14, 2020, Governor DeWine signed Ohio Amended Substitute House Bill 606 (“H.B. 606”) affirming the Ohio Legislature’s extension of qualified civil immunity for COVID-19-related claims. H.B. 606 specifically…

Ohio Department of Health Director Signs K-12 COVID-19 Reporting and Notification Order

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September 4, 2020  The Director of the Ohio Department of Health ("ODH") issued an order on September 3, 2020 requiring reporting and notification regarding COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools (the “Order”). The Order requires all K-12…

Ohio Department of Health Releases Order Allowing Sports to Move Forward with Stipulations

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August 21, 2020  On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced that all sports (both contact and non-contact) would be permitted to move forward this fall. The Order, issued by the Interim Director of the Ohio Department of…

Ohio Department of Health Releases Use of Face Shield Guidance

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August 17, 2020  The Ohio Department of Health (“ODH”) posted guidance to its website addressing the use of face shields including use in schools. In the ODH Face Shields FAQ, ODH addresses the use of face shields in lieu of masks or…

Ohio School Mask Orders Update

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8/14/2020 On August 13, 2020, the Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health (the “Director”) issued an order requiring use of facial coverings in K-12 schools (“Order”). The Order, which became effective on Friday, August…

Ohio Department of Health Extends Contact Sports Order, Clarifies Definition of Contact Sports

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August 4, 2020  On August 1, 2020, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued a third Order related to contact sports, which extends the expiration date of its second amended Order. Notably, unlike previous orders that had a set expiration…

Student Attendance During Remote Learning for the 2020-2021 School Year

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July 17, 2020  To assist school districts in developing remote learning plans for the 2020-2021 school year, the Ohio Department of Education recently released guidance addressing student attendance during remote learning activities. At…

Ohio Releases New Order for Contact & Non-Contact Sports and Competitions

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Updated: July 23, 2020 *On July 22, 2020, the Ohio Dept. of Health issued a second Order extending the expiration date of the Order below to July 31, 2020. The second Order can be found here. On July 7, 2020, just over three weeks after…

New Re-Open & Re-Start Guidance for the 2020-2021 School Year

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July 6, 2020  On July 2, 2020, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released new guidance regarding the re-opening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year. This guidance, which is titled “COVID-19…

Ohio Department of Education Extends Eligibility Under Developmental Delay for Students Transitioning from Preschool to Kindergarten

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June 30, 2020  On June 30, 2020, the Ohio Department of Education announced that preschool students with disabilities who were identified under the category of “developmental delay” for the 2019-2020 school year will be able to transition…

New State and Federal Guidance for Special Education Related to COVID-19 Closures

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June 30, 2020 ODE Guidance On June 29, 2020, the Ohio Department of Education issued “COVID-19 Guidance: Data Reporting for Students with Disabilities FAQ.” The guidance addresses EMIS reporting for noncompliance events that occurred…

Ohio H.B. 164 Provides School Districts Some Relief from Anticipated 2020-2021 Third Grade Reading Guarantee Impact

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June 22, 2020  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio House Bill 164 (H.B. 164) on Friday, June 19, 2020, also known as the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2019. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, H.B. 164 goes beyond its religious…

Ohio H.B. 164: Emergency Legislation for the Reopening of Schools

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Updated July 8, 2020  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio House Bill 164 (H.B. 164) on Friday, June 19, 2020, also known as the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2019. The bill allows public school students to pray, attend religious…

Contact Practices for Sports and Non-Contact Competitions Can Start – Are You Ready?

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June 19, 2020  Governor DeWine announced that on June 22, 2020, contact practice for all sports activities and non-contact sport competitions can resume. As with other reopening announcements, it comes with an order containing mandates and…

New Guidance for Early Intervention to Preschool Transition

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June 18, 2020  Several Ohio agencies are providing guidance regarding serving children with disabilities who are transitioning from Part C Early Intervention to Part B special education preschool services. The guidance, developed by the…

Questions Arise with the Reopening of Ohio Sports and Training Facilities

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June 1, 2020  The Ohio Department of Health Director has authorized school districts to reopen their doors to skills training and non-contact sports. The Order provides detailed requirements and restrictions as well as guidance specifically…

Don’t Forget About ADA Accessibility When Planning Virtual Graduation Ceremonies

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May 5, 2020  School-building closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have Ohio districts preparing for a very different kind of student graduation this year. The Ohio Department of Education is urging all school districts to utilize alternative…

School Closure Clarification Released

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April 30, 2020 On April 29, 2020, Dr. Amy Acton, as acting director of the Ohio Department of Public Health (ODH), signed the Second Amended Order relating to the closure of K-12 schools, a copy of which can be found here. Within this Order,…

Don’t Toss Your Cap Yet: What it Means to be “On Track” to Graduate

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April 13, 2020  With the passage of HB 197 and additional guidance from the Ohio Department of Education (“ODE”), many questions regarding graduation eligibility and its “on track” process have been answered. For those students…

U.S. Department of Education Approves Funding for Continued Learning During Pandemic

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April 10, 2020 U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has authorized flexible funding to states to better serve the needs of students and educators throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The new flexibilities, introduced under the Coronavirus Aid,…

ODE Clarifies Teacher Evaluation Questions, But Complicated Decisions Remain

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April 9, 2020  House Bill 197, which was meant to provide clarity to school districts on a range of issues due to school-building closures from the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in more questions than answers. Specifically, those questions…

Updated Ohio Department of Education Guidance Regarding Students with Disabilities During the State’s School-Building Closure

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March 30, 2020  On March 27, 2020, the Ohio Department of Education issued updated guidance clarifying its previously issued guidance document of March 18, 2020 entitled “Considerations for Students with Disabilities during Ohio’s Ordered…
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What’s Included in Ohio’s COVID-19 Response Law

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On March 27, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law emergency legislation that addresses the urgent needs of the State due to the COVID-19 pandemic. H.B. 197 goes into effect immediately. The new law addresses a wide range of issues,…

Ohio’s “Stay At Home” Order and Its Impact on Schools

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March 25, 2020  Currently, Ohio is under a “Stay At Home” Order, which is effective March 23, 2020 through April 6, 2020. The Order, issued by Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, requires all individuals currently living…
Student with books and a backpack

Interpreting the Ohio Department of Education’s Guidance Regarding Students with Disabilities During the State’s School-Building Closure

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        March 23, 2020 On March 18, 2020, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) issued guidance entitled Consideration for Students with Disabilities during Ohio’s Ordered School-Building Closure. The…
Student at computer

Students with Disabilities and Team Considerations During the COVID-19 Crisis

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March 19, 2020 As we all continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the COVID-19 crisis and review the various guidance documents from federal, state, and local officials, several guiding principles have begun to emerge in relation…
Social Distancing

Yost Revisits OMA Recommendations, Allows for Electronic Participation at Board Meetings

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March 16, 2020  On Friday, March 13, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (Yost) released a letter to local officials regarding the applicability of Ohio’s Open Meetings Act (OMA) during the COVID-19 pandemic. In his letter, Yost stated…

Ohio Department of Education Issues COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions Document for Ohio School Districts

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March 16, 2020  On March 14, 2020, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document designed to “help school and district leaders think through important local-level decisions.”  The FAQ document…
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COVID-19 and ESEA School Assessment Obligations

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March 13, 2020 Ohio schools are actively instituting Governor Mike DeWine’s mandatory three-week closure of all elementary and secondary schools, including public, private, and charter schools, in an attempt to battle the spread of…
District Schools on yellow school bus

COVID-19 and District Obligations to Students with Disabilities

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March 13, 2020 In a press conference on March 12th, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine directed that, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), all elementary and secondary schools, including public, private, and charter schools,…

COVID-19: How the Virus Impacts School District Obligations

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March 12, 2020 Ohio’s Open Meetings Act and COVID-19 With many questions circulating regarding the application of Ohio’s Open Meetings Act (OMA) in light of Governor Mike DeWine’s recent guidance on COVID-19 and mass gatherings,…
Coronavirus name written on a chalkboard

COVID-19: What Ohio Schools Need to Know and Do

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March 10, 2020 COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, (a new respiratory virus strain), is spreading rapidly.  In the span of just a few short months, the virus has spread around the globe to our doorstep here in Ohio.  On March 9, 2020,…