FILE - Gov. Mike DeWine State of Ohio

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks during the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

(The Center Square) – All kindergarten through 12th grade schools in Ohio will close for at least a few weeks over concerns of the spread of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday.

"Beginning at the conclusion of the school day on Monday, March 16, all K-12 schools will close to students through Friday, April 3," the governor's announcement says. "This order includes all public, community, and private K-12 schools in the state, but does not apply to Ohio’s childcare system such as daycare centers and home-based childcare providers."

DeWine directed school districts to find alternative ways to provide education. Many colleges and universities across the country are cancelling in-person classes and offering virtual courses online.

School districts can make their own decisions about whether to shut down their buildings, DeWine said, and teachers and other staff should continue to report to work per administrators' instructions.

"We want to thank educators and administrators for the extraordinary efforts they will take to continue offering services during this time of national crisis," said DeWine said in a statement.

"Over the next 72 hours, the Ohio Department of Education will develop guidance for K-12 schools to ensure the continuity of important student services, including a strategy for providing meals," the governor's announcement says.

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

Executive Editor

Dan McCaleb is a veteran editor and has worked in journalism for more than 25 years. Most recently, McCaleb served as editorial director of Shaw Media and the top editor of the award-winning Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago.