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Unauthorized homecoming plans in Ohio has officials concerned

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, OH (WOWK) — Controversy is brewing in Ohio today after the interim superintendent of one school put out a statement urging parents to use caution and common sense after hearing of an unauthorized after-school activity being planned.

“The timing is terrible. I mean, they need to wait. This will be over.” 

Georgia Dillon, health commissioner, Lawrence County Health Department

The interim superintendent of the Chesapeake School District issued a statement Tuesday urging caution after word spread of an unauthorized event being put on by several groups of parents.

“I had talked to Lawrence County Health Department a week ago and they had informed us that there were folks out in the community selling tickets to a homecoming dance using our logo and those type of things.” 

Doug Hale, interim superintendent, Chesapeake School District

Hale wants to make it clear:

“We’re not telling anybody that they shouldn’t have a dance, but we want them—the community—to be aware of that it wasn’t a school function.” 

Doug Hale, interim superintendent, Chesapeake School District

He says Chesapeake High School isn’t having an official event because of Health Department guidance to reduce events that are hard to socially distance, like dances.

Placard posted at the entrance of Chesapeake High School reminding students to social distance. (Photo Cred: 13 News Reporter Natalie Wadas)

Hale has no authority over private events, but wants parents to take precautions since the district has only recently re-opened to in-person learning.

The situation has many, including teachers, concerned.

“You might get lucky and have an event and nothing happens, but that’s a chance that you’re taking. Some people are ok with the chance, the risk.  I’m not.” 

Angie Kelley, teacher of biomedical science, Chesapeake High School

School and health officials say they understand students want to keep their homecoming traditions alive, but they share a common concern: the health and safety of everyone involved.

“Our recommendation is that it not be held. You know, we know that homecoming dances are, it’s something kids look forward to in the fall, but we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and there’s not anything normal about our time right now.” 

Debbie Fisher, R.N., accreditation coordinator and public information officer, Lawrence County Health Department

“This is not a time to do a homecoming, maybe in February. Just delay it! We’re in the red.” 

Georgia Dillon, health commissioner, Lawrence County Health Department

The Lawrence County Health Department says as of yesterday, the county has had 963 cases, with ten new ones just today.

These developments on the heels of Governor Mike DeWine urging southern Ohioans to follow safety guidelines.

Health officials are very concerned about what this event could mean in terms of a coronavirus super-spreader event.

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