Sarah Taylor

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.

Every student in Akron Public Schools has a Chromebook. And Superintendent David James says most of them have connected via remote learning, but fewer than half are actively doing school work. The district is trying to get students more involved, but it’s also facing a number of other challenges from the coronavirus pandemic.

James welcomed the decision this week from Governor Mike DeWine to keep schools closed for the remainder of the school year.   

When Akron students eventually return to classes at the new Ellet High School, things will look different around the building. The school district continues work to tear down the old Ellet High School building west of the new structure.

Akron Public Schools superintendent David James says there are plans for the site once the old school is razed.

She’s never cared for a patient with COVID-19, but a recent nursing graduate from Kent State’s Geauga campus will be doing so this week as she begins work in one of the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. Bailey Hill, 23, who grew up in Geauga and Ashtabula Counties, traveled on Friday with a  group from Cleveland Clinic to New York City.

Gov. Mike DeWine has signaled that Ohio nonessential businesses could start reopening by the end of next week. And you’ve been asking what that means for coronavirus testing, the state’s farmers and even Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Now, Sarah Taylor and Kabir Bhatia from our newsroom answer questions you’ve sent in for “OH Really?”

Pressure is mounting for Congress to act on another relief package. Legislators from northeast Ohio are speaking out about what they’d like to see in it.

Members of Congress are hearing from local government leaders, businesses, nonprofits and social service agencies. Government leaders are concerned about how to sustain operations as revenues tumble. 

With nonessential businesses closed and much of Ohio shut down due to COVID-19, a lot of people are out of work right now. Last week in Ohio, 226,000 people filed applications to receive unemployment benefits. It’s not an easy task because the system has been overwhelmed.

With Bernie Sanders out of the race, Joe Biden is assured of being the Democratic presidential nominee. This week, Biden won the endorsement of Senator Sherrod Brown.

Brown says Biden will fight for workers and address the things Bernie Sanders wanted to—like student debt and climate change. He says  Sanders supporters should find it easy to back Biden.

"There may be some slight differences between Vice President Biden and Senator Sanders, but the differences more than anything are in style. They’re not substance," Brown said.

Tara Smith, Ph.D.  is a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University where she studies emerging infectious diseases.

Hospitals across Ohio are grouped geographically into zones to respond to public health emergencies. Summit County is part of the 13-county Northeast Central Ohio Region, referred to as the NECO region.

Those involved with leading the region’s planning for the expected surge of COVID-19 cases include Grace Wakulchik, President and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital and the hospital's associate medical director Dr. John Crow, who's heading up a NECO subgroup that's working to prepare for the surge. 

They talked about where things stand and what sites might be used in the Akron area to care for more patients. 

The Ohio Department of Health has teamed up with Ohio State University to try to increase the capacity for COVID-19 testing across the state. They're producing their own kits with the items needed to conduct the tests--swabs, tubes, and the liquid in the tubes. "We need more testing and we need results quicker," Governor Mike DeWine said in his briefing Friday. 

Unemployment numbers out Thursday show a huge spike both in Ohio and nationwide. In Ohio, more than 468,000 people have applied for benefits. That’s 100,000 more than all of last year.

Ohioans are anxiously awaiting financial help, including federal assistance of $1,200 promised to those making less than $75,000 annually. Senator Sherrod Brown tells WKSU he’s working to ensure those payments go out soon.  

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton is ordering Ohio hospitals that are not able to process COVID-19 tests to send them to hospitals that are able to turn them around more quickly. That includes Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and MetroHealth in Cleveland.

Schools have had to make quick adjustments to try to teach students remotely. But that's not the only challenge they face, especially for large districts with high poverty rates like the Cleveland Metropolitan schools.

District CEO Eric Gordon talks about how the district is trying to keep the learning going, especially when it has limited contact with a quarter of its students.

Eric Gordon: We know that about 25% of our families do not have contact. That gives us some idea of the limits in our homes, right out of the gate.  

Emphatically tapping the podium, Governor Mike DeWine said sometimes "you just have to rattle it." He was referring to the bureaucracy that appears to have been holding up FDA approval of a new process developed by Columbus-based Battelle Labs. The process uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide in a pressured environment to clean N95 masks for healthcare personnel. 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held up a cardboard chart during his briefing Saturday. The low-tech visual, he said, was due to an illness among the behind-the-scenes crew that allows the daily briefing to be televised. DeWine said they were relieved to learn that the individual, hospitalized with pneumonia, tested negative for COVID-19.