“It’s the children who will suffer when schools shut down. … They are the ones who get further and further behind, and that will not be fair for them,” DeWine said.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, who joined DeWine for the press briefing, said that five-days a week, in-person learning is important for the cognitive, social and emotional development of children.
He explained that the delta variant that has in-person education at risk is more contagious than the earlier coronavirus strains and is making people of all ages sicker, quicker.
“It is also now clearly the dominant strain in Ohio,” said Vanderhoff, who said it is more contagious than the common cold or flu.
More than 63,000 people in Ohio have been hospitalized and more than 20,000 killed due to COVID-19 in the state since the pandemic began.
Although there are reports of breakthrough cases of people who have been vaccinated becoming infected with COVID-19, Vanderhoff and DeWine said the people at risk of severe illness remain those who are not vaccinated.
Currently, only 35% of children 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated in Ohio, compared to 57% for adults, according to Ohio Department of Health data.
For information about the coronavirus vaccine or to book an appointment, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.
With the delta variant spreading and cases and hospitalizations rising across the country, health experts are expected to recommend an additional vaccine shot for Americans eight months after they received their second dose, according to the Associated Press. The announcement could come as soon as this week.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started recommending an additional dose for people who are immunocompromised and received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
“This is a recommendation for a very small group of individuals, individuals who are at heightened risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19,” Vanderhoff said during a Friday media briefing.
Those who are severely immunocompromised make up an estimated 3% of Ohio’s population.