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CEO Jennings said YCSD teachers 'positive' about 2020-21 school year

The governor also gave an update on additional unemployment benefits now on heading to eligible Ohioans.

CEDARVILLE — Youngstown City School District CEO Justin Jennings told Gov. Mike DeWine the district's remote-learning school year still has a learning curve but teachers' response has been "positive."

Jennings updated Gov. Mike DeWine on the district's pandemic response live during a Thursday state briefing.

The district has offered hotspots to each student and also established internet connections through Spectrum in homes that didn't have any way of getting online.

"There's still a learning curve. Zoom is new for everybody," he said.

The district's new wellness clinics at East and Chaney high schools, which the district expects to be up and running within the next two months, will later be made available to teachers and students' families, many of whom don't have access to health insurance, Jennings said.


According to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System map, updated Thursday, Columbiana County was downgraded to the lowest Level 1 "yellow" alert phase, while Mahoning and Trumbull counties retained their level 1 status.

Columbiana County, which had a Level 2 "orange" designation last week, now meets only one of the state's seven risk indicators for COVID-19 spread.

All of its new cases from the week of Sept. 9 to Sept. 15 were reported outside congregate settings such as long-term care or correctional facilities. Counties meet that indicator when more than 50 percent of their new cases in one of the prior three weeks were reported outside a group setting.

The county reported 43 percent of cases were outside group settings the week of Sept. 2 to Sept. 8 and 44 percent the week before that.

Mahoning and Trumbull counties also meet the same indicator. In Mahoning County, between 76 and 88 percent of new weekly cases were reported outside group settings in the last three weeks. In Trumbull, between 78 and 92 percent.

Five Ohio counties "have a very high risk of [COVID-19] exposure and spread" and are in the Level 3 "red" alert phase: Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Portage and Putnam. Alert levels for another 69 counties did not change from last week.


DeWine announced Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has begun distributing the federal government's additional $300 per week in Lost Wages Assistance to eligible unemployment insurance recipients.

Ohioans are eligible if they qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or "PUA," Trade Readjustment Assistance, SharedWork Ohio or extended benefits for weeks ending Aug. 1 through Sept. 5.

PUA claimants will receive these benefits first, with individual payments staggered for each week they qualify. Ohioans who receive other types of benefits will receive one payment retroactive to the week they became eligible.

More information can be found at


The state on Thursday unveiled two new online dashboards reporting COVID-19 cases at Ohio school districts as well as the number of COVID-19 cases among children.

There have been 9,040 COVID-19 cases among Ohioans younger than 18, as well as 223 hospitalizations and one death.

According to the dashboard, Mahoning County has reported 143 cases among children, the 11th-highest among Ohio's 88 counties; Trumbull has reported 67 cases, the 23rd-highest; Columbiana has reported 37 cases, the 35th-highest.

Columbiana Exempted Village Schools was the only district in the Mahoning Valley to report COVID-19 cases — there have been two cases among students, according to the dashboard.


• According to the latest figures Thursday from the Ohio Department of Health, the state is reporting 141,585 confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus. There have been 2,968 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 1,837 in Trumbull County; and 1,912 in Columbiana County.

• Statewide, there have been 4,580 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 deaths, including 279 in Mahoning County; 131 in Trumbull; and 78 in Columbiana. Mahoning County's 279 reported COVID-19 deaths on Thursday was fifth among Ohio's 88 counties; Cuyahoga County had the most with 638.

• In nearby counties: Stark, 2,673 cases and 168 deaths; Portage, 1,045 cases and 66 deaths; and Ashtabula, 637 cases and 48 deaths.

Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday he expects the state will soon release guidance on how communities can conduct Halloween festivities this year, but noted communities, as in every year, will decide if or when they happen. He encouraged parents and children to wear masks, social distance, avoid large groups and stay home if sick.

• Day 2 of the 35th annual Spartan Cross Country Invitational at Boardman High School will feature races throughout today, with Division I runners competing this morning. The event has been scaled back with COVID-19 protocols. Runners are permitted up to three family members to watch, as long as they wear masks.

• A drive-thru voter registration event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Academy of Urban Scholars on Market Street. The nonpartisan outdoor event will offer: new voter registration; absentee ballot request; registration information; and poll worker registration. Participants will remain in their vehicles.

•  The Jewish Community Center of Youngstown and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation will have a voter registration drive with the League of Women Voters from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the JCC on Gypsy Lane. Absentee ballot request forms, polling site location information and League of Women Voters’ nonpartisan candidate information will be available.

• The Millennial Theatre Company will honor those who have died from COVID-19 in its upcoming online production of “Songs for a New World” by including their names and photos in a special tribute song during the performance. Names and photos can be emailed to until Oct. 1.

• According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday, there are 147,923 COVID-19 cases in the state which have led to 7,913 deaths. The state said the recovery rate is 82 percent. There have been 663 confirmed or suspected cases in Mercer County and 13 deaths; 492 cases in Lawrence County and 22 deaths.

• Ballots mailed on Election Day in Pennsylvania will still be counted as long as they arrive within the next three days, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Before the decision, the deadline for ballots to be received was the same as when polls close the evening of Nov. 3. The extended deadline increases the odds that the outcome of key elections will take multiple days to determine.

Justin Dennis

About the Author: Justin Dennis

Justin Dennis has been on the beat since 2011, covering crime, courts and public education. Dennis grew up in Poland and Salem and studied journalism and communications at Cleveland State University and University of Pittsburgh.
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