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Ohio Stay at Home Order as Applied to Schools and Other Public Employers (US)

All individuals in Ohio have been ordered to stay home except as necessary to engage in essential activities, and all non-essential businesses and operations have been ordered to cease, beginning at 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 23, 2020, under the Ohio Department of Health Director’s Stay at Home Order issued on March 22, 2020.

The Stay at Home Order applies to all “for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities,” but allows essential governmental functions and essential businesses and operations to continue. Accordingly, school boards and other governmental entities may continue to provide any services that are necessary either “to ensure the[ir] continuing operation” or “to provide for or support the health, safety and welfare of the public.” School boards and other public employers must now determine their essential governmental functions and identify employees and/or contractors necessary to perform them.

All K-12 school buildings remain closed to students but not to administrators, teachers, staff, vendors, or contractors, whose appropriate level of access is determined by school administration, per the March 14, 2020 Director’s Order. The Stay at Home Order is meant to be consistent with, and not to amend or supersede, the March 14, 2020 Order.

Under the Stay at Home Order, school districts may continue to do the following:

  • Facilitate distance learning, perform “critical research,” and perform other “essential functions.”
  • The minimum necessary to maintain the school buildings, ensure their security, process payroll and employee benefits, and perform related functions.
  • The minimum necessary to enable employees to work from home.
  • Provide food services typically provided to students or members of the public. Schools providing meals [onsite] must do so “on a pick-up and takeaway basis only,” and the food cannot be “eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site.” Schools delivering meals to students’ homes may continue to do so.

While providing these services, schools must take the following social-distancing measures (to the extent possible):

  • Maintain a six-foot distance between individuals, and use signage, tape, or other tools to help facilitate this.
  • Have hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and others.
  • Implement separate operating hours for elderly or otherwise vulnerable individuals who must visit.
  • Provide services by phone or remotely, and post online whether facilities providing essential services are open and how best to reach the facilities.

The Stay at Home Order further directs schools and other public employers to take the following steps:

  • Allow as many employees as possible to work from home, including by implementing teleworking or videoconferencing policies.
  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home until (1) they have not had a fever for three full days; (2) their symptoms have improved for at least three full days; and (3) at least seven days have passed since their symptoms first began. Do not require a doctor’s note.
  • Ensure that sick-leave policies are current, flexible, and non-punitive, and that the policies allow employees to stay home due to their own illness or to care for children or other family members.
  • Send any employees who have symptoms home immediately, keep them separated from other employees, and allow them to return to the workplace only once they have recovered.
  • Reinforce the need for employees to stay home when sick, follow cough and sneeze etiquette, and practice proper hand hygiene. Post these messages where employees will see them.
  • Provide employees with supplies like soap and water, hand sanitizer, tissues, and no-touch garbage cans.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, railings, door handles, and doorknobs more often than usual, and provide disposable wipes so that employees may wipe down commonly used surfaces before each use.
  • Be prepared to modify operations to continue providing essential services in the event of unanticipated change.
© Copyright 2022 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 83

About this Author

Michael Hanna Labor & Employment Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Cleveland, OH

Michael Hanna has a broad-based labor and employment practice. Mike has negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements and coordinated strike preparation and litigation.

He has arbitrated a wide range of issues including plant closings, severance pay, discipline, overtime, time study and general contract interpretation issues. Mike has counseled clients on remaining union-free and has assisted in a number of successful union election campaigns. His practice includes representation before the National Labor Relations Board on unfair labor practice matters. He has been listed in...

Emily Spivack Employment Lawyer Squire Patton Boggs

Emily Spivack is an associate in the firm’s Labor & Employment Group where her practice focuses on issues facing employers and public school districts.

Emily’s practice includes advising school clients in student discipline matters, contract and policy drafting, and employment questions. She regularly defends districts before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. She also has extensive experience with public records and public meetings questions, both under the Ohio Sunshine Laws and the federal Freedom of Information Act...

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Elaine A. Brown Labor & Employment Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Cleveland, OH
Senior Attorney

Elaine Brown’s practice focuses on the representation of employers in a broad spectrum of employment and labor law matters including discrimination, employment at will, compliance issues, workers’ compensation and labor relations.

Elaine has appeared before federal and state courts, administrative agencies and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. She has conducted internal harassment and retaliation investigations on behalf of employers and has assisted employers with compliance matters through policy review and drafting.  She also has presented seminars and published...

 Dylan Yépez, Squire Patton Boggs, Associate, Cleveland,Labor and employment litigation,federal and state courts,public and private sectors

Dylan Yépez assists employers in both public and private sectors. His practice mainly encompasses employment-related litigation in federal and state courts and administrative agencies, as well day-to-day counseling on various employment issues.

Dylan helps represent employers in litigation involving alleged harassment, discrimination, Title IX violations, retaliation, wrongful termination and breach of contract, as well as arbitrations involving alleged breach of contract, including collective bargaining agreements.

Dylan counsels employers on wage and hour compliance,...