(LFC Comment: We sent an email to each State of Ohio Senator promoting the Free Ohio Now position on opening schools for the Fall, 2020 session. Here is the response from State Senator Bob Peterson (District 17). We thank him for taking the time to answer us.)
Thank you for reaching out to my office. I received your email regarding your concerns about academic testing and reopening schools for the 2020-2021 academic year. I understand this is a stressful time for everyone as Ohio navigates how to respond to the coronavirus situation.
I appreciate and agree with your thoughts that Ohio students benefit and learn best by attending school. I am advocating for a traditional start of school this fall with reasonable precautions for the safety of students and staff.
Furthermore, on June 2nd, Senate Bill 319 was introduced in the Ohio Senate where it was subsequently referred to the Ohio Senate Education Committee. This bill revises education law in 2020/21 due to COVID-19, and requires that the decision to close or cancel in-person education is a local school board decision, not a state decision. While SB 319 was in the Ohio Senate Education Committee, most of its provisional language was rolled into House Bill 164, which also addresses student religious expression. When adding the language of SB 319 into HB 164, the furlough amendment was removed. Finally, on June 10th, HB 164 was passed in the Ohio Senate. Due to the changes in the bill, it now goes back to the House for a concurrence vote.
Thank you for raising my awareness of this issue. If I can ever be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
State Senator, District 17