gun in holster
Eric Gay / Associated Press

Does carrying a gun make a teacher a security officer, or just a teacher who happens to be carrying a gun? Ohio Supreme Court justices on Tuesday focused on that singular question in hearing arguments for and against arming school staff.

Gov. Mike DeWine, following U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines, has called for Ohio’s K-12 teachers and school staff to be next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, along with residents older than 65 and those with developmental disabilities.  

DeWine’s plan includes getting Ohio educators – everyone from teachers to bus drivers and cafeteria workers – vaccinated beginning Feb. 1, with a goal of getting students back into schools, either full-time or as part of a hybrid model, by March 1.

Updated: 4:50 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020

The process of vaccinating health care workers and people living in nursing homes is going too slowly, according to Gov. Mike DeWine.

Updated: 4:21 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020

The state will provide vaccines to school staff in early 2021 to encourage a return to in-person learning, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.

Any school moving from remote to in-person learning will have access to vaccines for adults working in the buildings as part of the state’s second stage of vaccine distribution, the governor said, which is coming after healthcare workers and those living and working in congregate care settings are vaccinated.

Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Miguel Cardona, the head of Connecticut's public schools, to be his secretary of education.

In a statement Tuesday evening, Biden called Cardona a "lifelong champion of public education."

Cardona makes true on an early Biden promise to pick an education secretary who was a teacher: "A teacher. Promise," Biden told the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, back in July 2019.

Ohio’s K-12 students should be learning remotely, starting now, and not return to the classroom until Jan. 11, according to recommendations from the Ohio Education Association (OEA), the union representing most of the state’s teachers.

Pickerington students in September.
Pickerington Local School District / Facebook

Schools around Central Ohio took a cautious approach to the academic year. Many started remote, and pledged to return to distance learning should COVID-19 cases spike. But despite record-breaking new case numbers, most districts are still in the classroom at least part of the time.

Gahanna-Jefferson teachers picket on Tuesday morning.
Debbie Holmes / WOSU

Dozens of teachers held signs saying "Settle Now" in front of the Gahanna-Jefferson School District headquarters and Lincoln High school on Tuesday morning, after the teachers union voted to go on strike.

The Ohio chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police filed a brief in the state’s highest court Monday arguing against arming teachers, as the policies would “make an already dangerous situation even more dangerous for law enforcement, for school staff, and for the students themselves.”

The Ohio FOP laid out a series of dangers posed by arming teachers without extensive training. First among the points: anyone involved in a gunfight becomes less accurate.

Empty Basketball Courts at the former Dominion Middle School.
Mary Rathke / WOSU Public Media

Columbus City Schools will start bringing students back into the classroom, at least part-time, on October 19 – slightly earlier than previously planned.

Teaching is already challenging enough without a pandemic shaking up how the classroom operates. As schools reopen, many districts are focused on keeping their staff and students safe from COVID-19. But the pandemic is also taking a toll on teachers’ mental health. 

Students in Pickerington return to classes next Monday, but a teacher and employee union is concerned about safety. 

Ohio State graduate student Lia Christine Dewey making signs for a protest.
Nick Evans / WOSU

On a busy corner east of the Columbus campus, Hanna Glasscock and a handful of friends are sunbathing on a postage-stamp yard in front of their apartment. She’s not all that worried about her classes starting up again, and there’s a good reason.

As the school year starts in many districts across the country, a new national poll of teachers from NPR/Ipsos finds overwhelming trepidation about returning to the physical classroom.

Empty Basketball Courts at the former Dominion Middle School.
Mary Rathke / WOSU Public Media

WOSU's Letters from Home collects stories about day-to-day lives during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, we continue listening to Ohioans sharing their feelings about the upcoming school year, and the plans for reopening schools.