COVID-19 Checklist for Ohio Coronavirus Bill
Protecting Against COVID-19
To read all the details on HB 197, visit https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA133-HB-197.
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, strongly recommends that Ohioans are aware of the following details in HB 197 of the Ohio General Assembly, also known as the Ohio Coronavirus Bill.
- Absentee voting has been extended in the primary election through April 28, 2020.
- An individual who has not already cast a ballot in the election, and who has registered to vote in Ohio as of the February 18, 2020 deadline, may cast an absent voter ballot in the election through 7:30 p.m. on April 28.
- Ballots already cast in the election before or after the bill’s effective date are required to be counted after 7:30 p.m. on April 28.
- The Secretary of State is required to mail a postcard to each elector in Ohio with information about voting under the bill.
- The state tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended to conform with federal delays to July 15.
- Associated interest and penalties have been waived for taxpayers affected by the emergency.
- This also applies to school district income taxes, municipal income taxes administered by the state, and certain fees administered by the Department of Taxation.
- Individuals will not need to serve a waiting period before receiving unemployment benefits during the emergency.
- The requirement is waived that a person actively search for suitable work as a condition of receiving unemployment benefits.
- An individual is not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if the individual is unemployed or is unable to return to work because of an order, including an order to be isolated or quarantined.
- The following apply to Ohio’s schools:
- School districts, STEM schools, community schools that are not e-schools, and chartered nonpublic schools are permitted to make up through distance learning any numbers of days or hours necessary due to school closures.
- All public and chartered nonpublic schools are exempt from administering state achievement and alternative assessments.
- The Ohio Department of Education is prohibited from publishing and issuing ratings for overall grades, components, and individual measures on the state report card, and submitting preliminary data for report cards for school districts and buildings.
- Schools are exempt from retaining students in the third grade under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, unless the school principal and student’s reading teacher determine the student is not reading at grade level.
- Public and private schools are permitted to grant a diploma to any student on track to graduate and for whom the principal, in consultation with teachers and counselors, determines that the student has successfully completed the student’s high school curriculum or individualized education program.
- Public and private schools should continue to find ways to keep students actively engaged in learning opportunities for the remainder of the school year, and to grant students who need in-person instructional experiences to complete diploma requirements or career-technical education programs access to school facilities as soon as reasonably possible after the Director of Health permits access, even if the last instructional day of the school year has passed.
- Licensees of the following boards are permitted to provide services electronically or via telehealth communication to children who receive services through their resident school districts or under the Autism Scholarship or the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship:
- Ohio Speech and Hearing Professionals Board
- Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board
- State Board of Psychology
- Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board
- State Board of Education, with respect to intervention specialists.
- Child-day care center staff member ratios have been limited to protect kids during the period of emergency, but not beyond December 1, 2020.
- The date by which publicly funded child care providers must be rated through the Step Up to Quality Program has been extended to September 1, 2020.
- The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will continue to pay providers of publicly funded child care.
- Schools and other entities are exempt from regulation as a food processing establishment if they have been issued a food service operation license and are transporting food from the establishment only for purposes of the Seamless Summer Option Program or the Summer Food Service Program administered by the USDA.
- Public water systems have been instructed to restore service to any customer whose service was disconnected as a result of nonpayment of fees and charges, and they may not initiate new disconnections. Fees for connection or reconnection should be waived.
- During the COVID-19 emergency, the law has been suspended requiring an applicant for a nursing license to have passed the licensure examination approved by the Board of Nursing.
- The Board of Nursing is required to issue a temporary license to practice as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to an applicant if the applicant meets the remaining statutory requirements, including completing a nursing education program and criminal records check.
- The bill extends current law deadlines during this time for license renewals until 90 days after the emergency ends or December 1. A licensing authority make still take disciplinary action against a license, except for delaying to taking action to maintain the license during the extension.
- Standard concealed handgun licenses that are scheduled to expire during the period of emergency provides an extension of 90 days or until December 1, whichever occurs sooner.
- Excluded from the deadline extensions is an individual’s duty to register or enroll as a violent offender, arson offender, or sex offender.
- The bill establishes a public body open meetings policy and a policy regarding hearings, which utilize the use of electronic communication in lieu of in-person meetings and hearings, for use only during the period of the emergency. This applies to local, county, and state government, and higher education.
- During this time, the Medicaid Director will:
- Classify certain Medicaid providers as COVID-19 community providers
- Request the Director of Budget and Management to designate additional funds related to the COVID-19 outbreak for Medicaid payments to COVID-19 community providers
- Make payments to COVID-19 community providers
- Facilitate payments to COVID-19 community providers by transferring funds to the Departments of Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health and Addiction Services via intrastate transfer vouchers.
For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available. Call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 (1-800-846-8517 TTY); connect with a trained counselor through the Ohio Crisis Text Line by texting the keyword “4HOPE” to 741 741; or call the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services help line at 1-877-275-6364 to find resources in your community.
Protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by taking these precautions.
- Stay home
- Practice Social Distancing
- Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
- Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)
- Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
- Clean and disinfect "High-Touch" surfaces often
- Call before visiting your doctor
- Practice good hygiene habits
If you have questions regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 please call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)
CLEAN ALL "HIGH-TOUCH" SURFACES EVERY DAY
High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.