Local governments plan few changes despite increase in COVID-19 cases

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
The Twinsburg Fitness Center has suspended some of its classes and activities due to the increased number of COVID-19 cases.
  • City Council uses Zoom to allow residents to view, comment during meetings
  • Twinsburg Fitness Center suspends some classes and activities
  • Pause on athletics, extracurriculars proving effective in reducing COVID-19 cases: Superintendent

TWINSBURG -- For now, the local governments and schools plan few changes with the increase of COVID-19 cases statewide.

On Thursday, Summit County was placed at level 4, or purple, by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. Several other Ohio counties also were placed at level 4, the highest rating in the system, including Portage, Stark and Medina. According to information from Gov. Mike DeWine's office on Friday, there are 456,963 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in the state, and 6,882 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 28,673 people have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic, including 4,847 admissions to intensive care units. 

Twinsburg Mayor Ted Yates said that as of now, the city plans to maintain the same hours at the city hall. Visitors and employees coming to city hall must undergo a temperature check and answer a series of questions, and must wear a mask. 

"Foot traffic is extremely low anyway, we don’t get that many visitors at city hall," Yates said. He added that most of his meetings were conducted over Zoom. 

One change made was in how City Council and city boards meet, Yates said. With the last two City Council meetings, the councilmembers and a few administrators met in person in Council chambers; however, the public cannot attend in person due to the state restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people. Instead, residents can view the meeting and comment during remonstrance through Zoom. Visit the city's Facebook page for details.

The city also is looking again to see which employees can work remotely, Yates added.

According to information posted Friday from the Twinsburg Fitness Center, the facility will suspend several of its classes until next year

All group fitness, aquatic fitness, and pickleball are paused until Jan. 11, and group swim lessons are paused until Jan. 4.

However, basketball hoops are available starting Dec. 7. Hoops must be reserved and are available for one family per hoop. Reservations can be made online, at the front desk, or by calling 330-405-5757.

The city's police and fire departments did have a request this year to residents: Please do not stop by with holiday treats.

"For years, during the month of December, members of our community have dropped off all sorts of delicious goodies and treats for our police officers and dispatchers as a way to say thank you and to brighten our holiday season," Chris Noga, police chief, stated in a social media post on Thursday. "These goodies are never expected but always appreciated. We are trying so very hard to keep our staff healthy by minimizing opportunities for contact with COVID-19. Sadly, because of the virus, we will not be able to accept outside food items into the police station at this time."

Steve Bosso, the assistant fire chief and CIO, echoed the police chief's statement in his own Facebook post.

"Although we just love all of those goodies, we cannot accept them this year due to the pandemic," Bosso said.

Kathryn Powers, the superintendent of the Twinsburg City School District, said in a message sent to district families Thursday evening that the district, after "very careful consideration of our district’s COVID-19 data along with the guidance of our county health officials, our district will continue to operate our On-Campus/Hybrid model as well as our Twinsburg Virtual Academy until winter break begins."

In late November, the school board voted to have all students take their classes remotely for the first two weeks after they get back from winter break on Jan. 5. In addition, the district will pause athletic and extracurricular activities until Dec. 7. Powers said in Thursday's message that the decision to pause athletic and extracurricular activities "has decreased the spread of COVID-19 at our middle school and high school."

Reminderville Village Mayor Sam Alonso said that so far, "we've been really fortunate," but he encouraged residents to stay vigilant about wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and other safety protocols.

"We will do whatever the state and Summit County Public Health direct us to do," Alonso said. 

Alonso said residents should check the village's Facebook page for updates.

Robert Kagler, the Twinsburg Township manager, said that the Township Hall has been closed to the public since mid-March. 

"We have a minimum number of employees anyway," Kagler said. "There’s nothing we need to do to restrict further. We are still having live meetings at township hall. The public is not allowed to attend, but meetings are livestreamed,"

Township residents can reach out the officials through email, fax, telephone and digital platforms, Kagler added.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com