COLUMBUS — As Ohio’s daily COVID-19 cases continue to rise to record levels, Gov. Mike DeWine used his regular Tuesday news conference to highlight students across the state who continue remote learning.

At the same time, a collaborative of private businesses and nonprofits across the state came together to develop Philanthropy Ohio, which along with the Ohio Department of Education awarded $3.1 million in grants to help schools improve remote learning.

The Collaborative Fund for Educating Remotely and Transforming Schools wants to use remote education as a catalyst for re-imaging and re-engineering the delivery of high-quality caring, teaching and learning opportunities for Ohio’s underserved students, according to a news release.

“We are so very excited about the ways these projects will help teachers, parents and students engage in meaningful learning during this time of remote education and are grateful to the Ohio Department of Education and Gov. DeWine for this partnership, the first of its kind and scope,” Claudia Y.W. Herrold, chief communications and public policy officer at Philanthropy Ohio.

DeWine on Tuesday reported 2,015 new cases and a record 216 hospitalizations in a 24-hour period.

“A lot is at stake in Ohio because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lives are at stake. We worry about hospitals filling up. We worry about long-term health issues for those who recover. We also worry about the education of our children,” DeWine said.

“It should concern all Ohioans that so many of our kids are going to school remotely. While many kids can do well under these circumstances, many cannot. We owe it to these kids to fight back against the virus and reduce community spread.”

DeWine pointed to a White House report that showed Ohio’s increase in cases seem to come from social friend and family gatherings. He continued to caution Ohioans to be mindful as more opportunities for gatherings happen.

“It’s the same thing I’m hearing when I speak with county health commissioners,” DeWine said in a Tweet. “It’s not big formal events or workplaces where they are seeing the most spread – it’s informal gatherings. Please keep this in mind when gathering to watch the first Ohio State football game of the season, as you prepare to watch the Browns and the Bengals this Sunday, or as you consider any other gatherings.”

Also, the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will begin mailing $1.3 billion worth of checks to public and private employers this week. Those dividends were approved in late August.

DeWine continued to tell Ohioans the state expects to develop a plan to use federal CARES Act money to help people with rent, mortgages and utility bills, as well as funding for small businesses and nonprofits.

Lawmakers and DeWine began talking about offering the assistance nearly two weeks ago, but have yet to announce any specific programs.

By J.D. Davidson

The Center Square