covid-19 24-7 updates

Editor's Note: This story will be updated regularly with the latest news and information pertaining to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ashland County.

Our goal is to share the local schedule changes, announcements and more you need to make informed decisions about your daily lives and health.

To submit cancelations, updates and other information related to the local impact of COVID-19, please click here

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Monday, March 30

-- 2 p.m. -- UH Samaritan announces "Chalk the Walk" beginning April 1

Beginning April 1 at 10 a.m., the community is encouraged to help decorate the sidewalks with images and words of inspiration, hope, cheer and appreciation to all UH Samaritan Caregivers in these stressful and challenging times.

People are asked to bring their own chalk, find a location away from other people and decorate the sidewalks at any UH Samaritan location. 

The idea came from the Human Resources Department at UH Samaritan, as they wanted to provide an outlet for employees and community members to let UH Caregivers know how they feel. 

"We want this event to help inspire, bring hope, cheer and appreciation to the UH Samaritan Caregivers," said Kathy Witmer, Manager of Communications & Development. 

There is no official gathering of people. Rather this initiative is starting April 1, at 10 a.m. and moving forward, anyone can stop by and “Chalk the Walk.” The notion is to see how long this can keep this going.

-- 9:53 a.m. -- BWC waives employer program requirements amid COVID-19 concerns

Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Ohio’s business community, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) is waiving several requirements for employers participating in programs that lower their premiums as a reward for creating safer workplaces and doing BWC business online and on time.

“This is one more way we can answer Governor Mike DeWine’s call for state agencies to help Ohioans and the business community through this difficult time,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “We’re looking at everything we do, and I’m sure more action will follow in the coming days and weeks.”

BWC is waiving all safety education and training requirements for this policy year — July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, for private employers; calendar year 2019 for public employers — for participants in the following programs:

Drug Free Safety Program.

EM Cap Program.

Grow Ohio.

Industry Specific Safety Program.

One Claim Program.

Policy Activity Rebate Program.

Discounts offered through these programs will be applied automatically. Additionally, the annual report deadline submission for Drug Free Safety Program participants has been extended to June 1, 2020. More on these programs can be found at bwc.ohio.gov.

The waivers follow Governor Mike DeWine’s signing Friday of Ohio House Bill 197 granting the state numerous provisions designed to mitigate COVID-19’s impact on Ohioans. It also follows BWC’s announcement last week that its private and public employer members could defer their monthly premium installment amounts due for March, April, and May this policy year until June 1, 2020, at which time the matter will be reconsidered.

For more on COVID-19 as it relates to BWC, visit this Frequently Asked Questions page. For the latest on COVID-19, visit the Ohio Department of Health website coronavirus.ohio.gov, or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Saturday, March 28 

-- 10:21 p.m. -- Ashland Emergency Management Agency seeks Personal Protective Equipment

Please help get the word out regarding the need for (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment. Any one that can provide even one of theses items, please donate these items to the Ashland County Emergency Management Agency, at 1763 State Route 60,

Ashland, Ohio 44805

Items needed;

1. N-95 Mask

2. Ear loop Masks/Surgical Masks

3. Gloves/ sterile/ non-sterile

4. Goggles

5. Dispo Gowns

6. Face visors

Please keep items in their original containers

Please deliver these items Monday through Friday from. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

-- 3:08 p.m. -- We answered: Why there may discrepancies between the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases between local and state entities

Friday, March 27

-- 4 p.m. -- Honda Indy 500 date moved to Aug. 7 to 9

INDYCAR has announced that The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course originally set for Aug. 14 to 16, has been moved to one week earlier on the calendar to Aug. 7 to 9.

This shift is in support of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ efforts to run as many of its points championship races as possible in 2020. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course moving up its date also opens up the summer calendar further for the Indianapolis 500 to run on Aug. 23.

This rescheduled date is subject to the ongoing guidance and mandates of national, state and local authorities regarding public gatherings. The health and safety of all associated with this event will remain the priority of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Previously purchased tickets to The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be valid and honored on the rescheduled dates of Aug. 7-9, 2020. Email info@midohio.com for any questions on ticket purchases and additional information."

-- 1 p.m. -- Ashland County Health Department reports second positive case in county

-- 10:24 a.m. -- Ashland City Schools announce meal service for March 30 to April 3 in collaboration with The Kroc Center and Associated Charities

Monday March 30

Meal Delivery using transportation and volunteers from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday March 31

Meal Pick-Up at Edison and Ashland Middle School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday April 1

Meal Delivery using transportation and volunteers from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Thursday April 2

Meal Pick-Up at Edison and Ashland Middle School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Friday April 3

Meal Delivery using transportation and volunteers from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Visit ashlandcityschools.org/district for the most recent updates and to join Remind 101 for your school. If you've already joined Remind alerts, then you don't need to sign up again.

Other meal service opportunities in the community

Ashland Kroc Center's food pantry is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Call ahead at (419)282-4223.

For other assistance, please check ashlandkroc.org or call (419)281-8001.

Associated Charities' food pantry is available, too, with items for those in need. Please call ahead (419) 281-6061. Hours are 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.

-- 10:01 a.m. -- ‘Two Days in May’ Canceled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The 2020 Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance, previously scheduled for May 21 and 22 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.

Two Days in May is an annual training event where victims’ advocates from around the state receive updates about best practices, trends and developments in the field; network with colleagues who also care about victims; and honor those who are doing exceptional work. More than 1,200 people attended the conference in 2019.

Training alternatives will be announced at a later date.

Thursday, March 26 

-- 11:45 a.m. -- Commissioners expect dive in sales tax

-- 11:30 a.m. Pep Boys worker in Ontario allegedly made false COVID-19 report

-- 11:00 a.m. -- Tunnell speaks about speaking businesses from afar

-- 7:30 a.m. -- Sale- Roy School adapts to deliver meals 

Wednesday, March 25 

-- 12:19 p.m. -- Hiring due to increased demand? Inform the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 is causing many businesses to, unfortunately, make the difficult decision to let employees go. In another light, where this pandemic is increasing job loss, there is also job creation in various industries due to high demand. If you are looking for more hands on deck as we navigate this storm, please let the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce know so it can share the information to its Social Media and to the COVID-19 Resource Center for Businesses that can be found on its homepage.

Please email all job postings and information to Jacob Coffy (jacob@ashlandoh.com).

-- 12:02 p.m. -- Is COVID-19 impacting your business directly or indirectly?

Like so many of you, the Ashland Area Chamber of Commcerce is closely monitoring the updates on COVID-19 as closely as possible. In order to best serve membership during this difficult time, the Chambers need your insight regarding COVID-19 and how it may be affecting your business. Please take this two-question survey so the ogranization can better serve your needs.

-- 10:03 a.m. -- Read about how a local IT company launched and app to consolidate communication across Ashland County

 

Tuesday, March 24

-- 2:33 p.m. -- Loudonville Chamber closes office

The Loudonville Area Chamber Office will be closed until April 6th. Executive director Valerie Spreng will be working from home. To contact her, send me an email at chamber@loudonvillechamber.com or send a message on Facebook.

-- 2:15 p.m. -- The Ashland County Dog Shelter is temporarily closed

The Ashland County Dog Shelter is temporarily closed to the public until further notice due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Adoptions: Adoptions are only being scheduled for specific available dogs. Current information on available dogs can be found on No Pawz Left Behind Facebook page. Call 419.289.1455 to schedule a meet and greet for potential adoption.

Dog Warden: To report dog attacks, dog bites or stray dogs that have been confined/contained, contact Joe Eggerton, Ashland County Dog Warden, at 419.606.4183 between 8:00 A.M. – 6:00 PM.

Volunteers: No volunteer walkers are needed at this time. 

Donations: Bleach, cleaning supplies, dry, unopened dog food and soft treats are the only donations currently being accepted.

-- 1:13 p.m. -- Mid-Ohio reschedules Acura Sports Car Challenge for Sept. 25-27

The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course announced today that the 2020 Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio originally set for May 1-3, 2020, has been rescheduled to Sept. 25-27, 2020.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series are confirmed to run on the new September weekend. Additional series updates, broadcast information and event schedules will be announced as they become available.

The rescheduled date is subject to the ongoing guidance and mandates of national, state and local authorities regarding public gatherings. The health and safety of all associated with this event will remain our priority.

Previously purchased tickets will be honored on the rescheduled Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course dates of Sept. 25-27, 2020. Email for additional information at info@midohio.com for questions on ticket purchases, or visit midohio.com/imsafaq for further details.

-- 10:05 a.m. -- Hope Pantry in Mansfield provides bagged groceries

Hope Pantry in Mansfield is providing bagged groceries from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

“Since our ministries are being dramatically stretched, especially without the blessing of our many volunteers, we also ask for your financial support,” Rodney Schuster says. "Rest assured, Catholic Charities will continue to follow the example Jesus gave us by serving the poor and healing the sick in these challenging times.”

Individuals and families wanting to assist or those needing assistance are encouraged to reach out to the Catholic Charities office nearest them: 419-524-0733 - Mansfield.

Monday, March 23

-- 11:24 a.m. -- Ashland County Courts to alter procedure starting March 30

-- 11:23 a.m. -- Ashland Chamber shares Essential Economic Resources for Ashland Area

Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce's Amy Daubenspeck shared the following letter Monday morning with economic resources for the area: 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has created a great strain on the nation’s healthcare system, but it’s not come without its economic difficulties as well. State leaders are working to ensure resources are readily available to Ohio businesses and workers to ensure we all weather this difficult time, remembering we are all in this together.

Liquor buyback

The Ohio Department of Commerce will immediately begin offering a liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants. This is intended to aid those establishments that have stocked up on high proof liquor, but now are facing closure to in-house patrons. Bars and restaurants can return unopened, high proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This opportunity is also extended to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. Questions about this program should be directed to the Liquor Enterprise Service Center at 1-877-812-0013 or OhioLiquorInfo@Com.Ohio.gov.

Small Business Administration's (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Contact Ohio DSA to learn what small businesses can do right now: (800) 848-1300. You can also send an email to BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.gov to learn more and obtain the state application. Additional information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at www.SBA.gov/Disaster

Publicly funded daycares

An executive order issued last week increased the number of children allowed to be supervised by child care staff, depending on the type of program and ages of the children. The order also increased from 10 to 20 the number of paid absent days for providers serving children in the Publicly Funded Child Care program, and it provides child care programs with 21 paid pandemic days if they must close their programs because of the pandemic.  Read the Executive Order here.

The Ohio Department of Transportation

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is modifying the process for haulers carrying heavy loads of essential goods. Generally, Ohio requires haulers with loads classified as "oversized" to seek advanced permission from ODOT before they are legally allowed to travel in the state. Haulers carrying these essential goods can download and print the permit at transportation.ohio.gov.

Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation

Ohio’s Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) system is the exclusive provider of workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio and serves 249,000 public and private employers. To help businesses facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio BWC is announcing insurance premium installment payments. For more information, visit bwc.ohio.gov.

Grace Period for Health Insurance Premiums

All health insurers are required to provide the option of deferring premium payments, interest-free, for up to 60 calendar days from each original premium due date. This means that employers can defer their premium payments up to two months, giving them some relief on costs, while keeping their employees insured. Read more here.

AshlandDining.com

The recent shutdown has affected restaurants and bars across Ohio. But just because you can’t dine-in at your favorite local restaurants, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their food! Use this resource to find carry-out and delivery options available and hours for each. It will be updated daily as options change. This guide is brought to you as a special partnership between Explore Ashland Ohio and Spire Advertising.

 -- 8 a.m. -- Ashbrook to hold free webinar "The Flu Epidemic of 1918 – Lessons from History" Wednesday

Though in-person speakers have been canceled through the remainder of the spring semester, Ashland University's Ashbrook Center will offer a free webinar at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 25.

The center announced this on its website with the following: 

We’re living through history. There has been a lot of speculation about what the coronavirus means for America and for our future as a country. 

One thing that is certain is that the grit and ingenuity of Americans will carry us through, as it always has. While none of us has lived through anything like this before, it is not the first time our country has been struck by a pandemic. The 1918 Flu Pandemic infected approximately one-third of the world’s population and tragically killed 675,000 Americans. 

At Ashbrook, we believe that America’s history has a lot to teach us. In that spirit, we are offering a free webinar Wednesday, March 25 at 1 p.m. ET on the 1918 Flu Pandemic. Ashbrook Executive Director Jeff Sikkenga will be leading the webinar alongside Dr. Jennifer Keene, professor at Chapman University and a member of Ashbrook’s national faculty. Jennifer is an expert in American military experience during World War I, including the 1918 Flu Pandemic. 

I hope you will consider joining us as we discuss what caused the epidemic, its connection to WWI, how governments responded, how people responded, and what effect the pandemic had on medicine, society, business, and more. The webinar will be interactive. We will welcome questions from the audience.

Sign up here

Sunday, March 22

-- 4 p.m. -- DeWine enacts "stay-at-home" order 

Saturday, March 21

-- 11 a.m. -- Temporary Pandemic Child Care option available

Temporary Pandemic Child Care License is a new rule which sets the process and requirements of the temporary pandemic child care license. This temporary licensure will allow approved programs to serve children whose parents are employed providing health, safety and other essential services as defined by the Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services in consultation with the Director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

There is no application fee and these programs will not be required to be rated in Step Up To Quality in order to provide publicly funded child care.

Payment for these programs will be determined through an agreement process with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

When approving programs for temporary licensure ODJFS must use discretion regarding the number of licenses approved based on need and pandemic health concerns. As a result ODJFS will evaluate programs based on location, capacity, and the number of children currently being served with parents employed to provide health, safety or other essential services.

What is a temporary pandemic child care center license?

A temporary pandemic child care center license is a short-term license to provide child care services to children whose parents are employed providing health and safety services as defined by the Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS).

Additional Info

Per ODJFS “The licensing application submitted for Step-By-Step Child Care Inc., located at 1289 Ashland Road, Mansfield, has been approved to operate as a temporary pandemic child carevcenter.”

During this time of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Step by Step childcare would like tovinform the community that there is extra capacity available at our facility. We have addedvadditional staffing for this period of time. We do accept ODJFS childcare benefits.

Additional procedures have been implemented beyond our normal routines in our facility.vParents are no longer allowed past our normal reception area when dropping off or picking up children. Upon arrival, employees and children are washing their hands and having their temperature checked before working in their classroom. We are frequently disinfecting and sanitizing often-touched surfaces such as door handles, countertops, gates, tables, chairs, toys, restroom surfaces, offices, food equipment, and break rooms.

While we have always cleaned and sanitized, you may notice increased measures being taken during our open hours. Deep cleaning and sanitizing will also occur after hours using recommended sanitizers from the CDC.

While our employees already practice proper handwashing techniques during work hours we have encouraged them to consider being even more vigilant.

Again, the health and safety of our children, parents, and the Step by Step team are our top priority and we are committed to doing our part to help keep your family safe.

All pandemic licensing rules are being followed. Please call to speak with an employee of Step by Step Childcare about setting up an appointment for enrollment.

-- 8:33 a.m. -- United Way of Ashland County launches COVID-19 Community Response Fund

The United Way of Ashland County has created a community response fund to provide funding to partner agencies who are on the front line providing critical services during this time of uncertainty. 

All funds will be collected by United Way and distributed directly to the agency of the donor's choice.  This means your donation stays local and will have an immediate and direct impact.  

Donate at uwashlandoh.org

Friday, March 20

-- 8:15 p.m. -- University Hospitals updates visitor policy starting Saturday, March 21

To protect staff, patients, and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, UH Samaritan Medical Center is adopting new restrictions on patient visitations at all UH Samaritan facilities. Effective Saturday March 21 at 7 a.m., UH Samaritan’s visitor policy will change as follows:

Patient Visitors:

 Inpatients with confirmed COVID-19 – No visitors will be allowed

 General medical floors – No visitors will be allowed

 Seidman Cancer & Infusion Center Patients – No visitors will be allowed

 Birthing and Women’s Unit inpatients – visitors are limited to the same two adult visitors for the duration of the patient’s hospital stay. Only one visitor will be allowed to spend the night with the patient. These visitors will be screened for symptoms of respiratory illness and temperature greater than 100.0 degrees F upon entrance to the Birthing & Women’s Unit, and will not be allowed to enter the facility if they screen positive.

 Surgical patients - one visitor will be allowed on the day of surgery only and will be screened. Surgical patient visitors will not be allowed to enter the facility if they screen positive.

 Ambulatory Health Centers, Physician Offices, Emergency Room and Urgent Cares – only one visitor will be allowed for the duration of the appointment/visit and will be screened.

Patient visitors will not be allowed to enter the facility if they screen positive

Visitor Screening:

 Temperature screen must be less than 100.0 degrees F and

 Must be flu symptom-free: no cough, no runny nose, no diarrhea, no shortness of breath. Any visitor that screens positive will not be allowed to enter the facility. UH Samaritan has also initiated Retail Pharmacy curbside pick-up for prescriptions. Arrangements can be made by calling the Samaritan Retail Pharmacy directly at (419) 289-9636.

The UH Samaritan Hospital Cafeteria and Gift Shop are closed to the public at this time.

The Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage during the COVID-19 outbreak, and donors are urgently needed. Red Cross Blood Drives will be held at the UH Samaritan Administrative Services Building, 663 East Main Street, Ashland, every Friday in April (4/3, 4/10, 4/17, and 4/24) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Schedule an appointment by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).

-- 5 p.m. -- Ashland City Schools shares Meal Service schedule for March 23-27

Monday March 23, 2020

Meal Delivery using transportation and volunteers 11AM to 1PM

Tuesday March 24, 2020

Meal Pick-Up at Edison and Ashland Middle School 11AM to 1PM

Wednesday March 25, 2020

Meal Delivery using transportation and volunteers 11AM to 1PM

Thursday March 26, 2020

Meal Pick-Up at Edison and Ashland Middle School 11 AM to 1PM

Associated Charities Pop-Up Food Bag Drive Thru/Pick-Up at First United Methodist Church Parking Lot on Cottage Street Across from the Old AMS Site (345 Cottage Street)

Friday March 27, 2020

Meal Delivery using transportation and volunteers 11AM to 1PM

OTHER MEAL SERVICES OPPORTUNITIES IN THE COMMUNITY

KROC CENTER HAS WALK-UP OR DRIVE THRU MEAL SERVICE MON-SAT 11AM-11:30AM    FOOD PANTRY AVAILABLE MONDAYS 11AM-2PM                           TUESDAY THRU FRIDAY 10AM-2PM SAT. 10AM-12PM CALL AHEAD 

PLEASE CHECK THEIR WEBSITE OR CALL AHEAD (419)281-8001

Saturday, March 28  10AM-1PM

Produce and Grocery Drive Thru Distribution- Matthew 25 ministries: Luray Lanes

Walk-up or Drive Thru Meal Service- Kroc Center

ASSOCIATED CHARITIES HAS A FOOD PANTRY WITH AVAILABLE ITEMS FOR THOSE IN NEED, PLEASE CALL AHEAD (419)281-6061 HOURS ARE 9AM-11AM AND 1PM-3PM.

JOIN THE REMIND 101 FOR YOUR SCHOOL, DIRECTIONS FOR THIS ARE ON OUR WEBSITE ABOVE; IF YOU HAVE ALREADY JOINED OUR REMIND 101, YOU DO NOT NEED TO SIGN UP AGAIN.

-- 5:00 p.m. -- Ashland City School District released the following information in a "weekly recap"

  • This week 2,529 Breakfasts and 2,529 Lunches have been Prepared, and Served through delivery to doors of our families, a small amount of those meals have been picked up from AMS or Edison.  The two pickup locations have provided an average of 100 meal sets at their locations.

Next Week’s Food Distribution

  • Volunteers (with ACS Badges) have committed to help with a neighborhood effort of delivery starting the week of 3/23/20-3/27/20, we will be contacting more volunteers as things progress.
  • Information on meal service delivery/pickup schedules and contacts are available on the district’s website:     

www.ashlandcityschools.org

If families have not signed up for delivery, the instructions for building specific Remind 101 texting options are on the website.  Due to the complexity of our delivery routes we will cut off the entry of new recipients each day at 10am on delivery days. This change will allow us to stay on schedule with our deliveries and to not exceed the food budgeted for that day.

Student Learning

  • District students have the ability to use their own devices, school devices that have been loaned out, and Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the City of Ashland to take part in the remote learning that continues to be available every day.  Students can use:  

www.ashlandcityschools.org to access the many resources and lessons that ACS staff have created daily.  There has been absolutely no lull in the learning opportunities and educational maintenance of our district’s students.

  • District staff members continue to reach out to all students daily to make connections and check on student wellbeing, both educationally and emotionally.
  • Daily conferencing with staff occurs both remotely and through various technology to plan and develop ways to reach students for their overall success during the Governor’s Orders for Schools.

Other District Information

  • We ask that all individuals respect the mandate that none of our facilities be utilized during the Governor’s Orders except for School Personnel, this includes playgrounds, Community Stadium, and Athletic Facilities.

-- 4:47 p.m. Rumours gift shop in Ashland has temporarily closed

The following message was shared by the owners:

We have decided to close our store for now. We feel it would be irresponsible for us to stay open when we are asked to stay at home. If anyone would like to place an order, just send us a private message. We make most of our merchandise and will still be working behind the scenes.

We will keep you updated with new merchandise as we make it. Stay SAFE and stay HEALTHY everyone! We will miss you. We are Ashland, and we will get through this.

With love, Lisa & Lori

-- 11:30 a.m. -- The Ashland County Women Democrats meeting scheduled for March 24 has been cancelled.

-- 9:45 a.m. -- Downtown Perk now temporarily closed

-- 9:32 a.m. -- Purchase a Neos ticket for a donation

As many of you know Neos has postponed a few of our upcoming performances including M.A.D.E. in Ashland. Its ticket sales were slated to help offset the dancers pay, as well as other expenses already incurred.

Ticket revenues were also budgeted to offset advertising and media sent out prior to the show date. Neos Dance Theatre's immediate needs $4,700 to pay the dancers for their most recent and final week of work until this crisis passes.

Because of this the nonprofit is asking the public to consider buying a ticket as a donation to help cover these costs.

The ticket link is still open and a few options for ticket prices are available to help reach the goal. Here is the link

Thursday, March 19

-- 3:50 p.m. -- Ashland Municipal Court delays jury trials 

The Ashland Municipal Court will remain open with limited access to protect the community and building staff from the spread of COVID-19, according to an announcement by Judge John Good Thursday afternoon. 

In a video posted to the City of Ashland's Facebook page, Mayor Matt Miller, finance director Larry Paxton and Judge Good shared this and other temporary changes to City of Ashland services. 

"As long as I can control it the court will remain open. We have, however, had to make some changes in order to address legitimate public safety concerns," Good said.

-- 3:28 p.m. -- Ashland County Department of Job and Family Services closes lobby 

Ashland County Department of Job & Family Services has closed its lobby as of Thursday. The County Commissioners approved the department's request at their Thursday morning meeting.

During this time, individuals can drop off documents to the drop box located on the corner of the building at Fourth & Orange Streets, but please do not leave cash or checks in this box.

The office "remains committed to providing services to our residents," the press release said. 

Public Assistance Programs: To apply for, renew or update cash, food, medical or child care assistance, call 1-844-640-6446 or click to apply at www.benefits.ohio.gov. You can drop off documents to the drop box located on the corner of the building at Fourth & Orange Streets. (Please do not leave cash or checks in this box.)

Child Support Enforcement: Customers may request services by calling the agency or visiting our website (forms available). Customers may also access the Ohio Child Support Customer Service Portal Web Portal to view and print payment information, and message a caseworker. We are not accepting child support payments at this time, you can make credit/debit card payments at https://oh.smartchildsupport.com or call 1-888-965-2676. You can also send payments to Ohio CSPC, P.O. Box 182372, Columbus, OH 43218-2372, please make sure to include Case Name, Social Security Number, Case and Order Number. 

Protective Services: Protective Services staff will remain accessible during normal business hours, Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and will continue to provide emergent on-call coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have questions about your case, please contact your caseworker by phone or email. We are evaluating the ability to safely provide parenting time and other contact services to assure the safety of staff and customers at all times. Child visitations will be rescheduled if clients have had fever, cough, or other symptoms of respiratory illness within the last 14 days. 

To report abuse, neglect or exploitation of seniors, call 419-282-5001 or the Ashland County Sheriff's Department. 

Workforce and OhioMeansJobs Services: The OMJ resource room is closed, if you have internet access you can utilize www.Ohiomeansjobs.com .

ODJFS Provides Common Number to Speed Processing of COVID-19-Related Unemployment Benefits 

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has provided the following mass lay-off number for employees to speed the processing of unemployment benefits: 2000180.

Ohioans can apply for unemployment online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at www.unemployment.ohio.gov . It also is possible to file by phone at (877) OHIO-JOB (1-877-644- 6562) or TTY at (888) 642-8203, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

-- 12:49 p.m. -- Social Security offices closed, but benefits to continue

The Commissioner of Social Security Administration Andrew Saul shared the following message: 

I want you to hear directly from me how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our services. The first thing you should know is that we continue to pay benefits. Be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping your Social Security payments but that is not true. Don’t be fooled.

To protect you and help stop the spread of this coronavirus, we cannot accept visitors in our offices at this time. There are several other ways you can get help. Many services are available online. If you have a critical need that you cannot address online, we can help you over the phone.

Please visit our Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) page to find out what services we are continuing and which ones we are suspending, how to contact us, and important information about deadlines we are extending to ease the burden on you and medical providers during this pandemic.

You can subscribe to receive email or text message notifications when we update our Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) page. Please share this information with your family and friends to help us spread the word.

-- 12:23 p.m. -- Ashland County Republican Party delays opening headquarters

In a press release issued Thursda, the Ashland County Republican Party said the opening of its headquarters, originally scheduled for April 1st, has been postponed.

Additionally, its monthly lunch, to be held next week on March 27th, has been 

-- Noon -- Nearby Richland County has reported its first case of COVID-19

This comes approximately 24 hours after the news of Ashland County's first case was shared.  

-- 11:36 a.m. Ashland Chamber of Commerce announces adjustments

The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce/Explore Ashland has made the following adjustments based on recommendations from the Ohio Department of Public Health. These changes are effective as of Monday, March 23rd and will remain in place until further notice.

All face-to-face meetings and events have been cancelled or postponed.

The Chamber Office at 211 Claremont Avenue has been closed to the public

Chamber staff will remain available to serve our members via remote locations. One staff member will be in the office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Staff can be reached in the following ways:

Phone: 419-281-4584. All office phones will be forwarded to the respective staff members. Voice messages should be left if a call is not answered.

URGENT CONCERNS, Amy Daubenspeck may be reached directly by phone or text at 419-606-0634 or email cvb@ashlandoh.com.

Email: General questions, chamber@ashlandoh.com

Renae Osborne – rosborne@ashlandoh.com

Jacob Coffy – jacob@ashlandoh.com

Emily McKinley – emily@ashlandoh.com

Ginny Telego - leadershipashland@ashlandoh.com

Matters related to business operations or specific needs for assistance, contact Amy Daubenspeck at cvb@ashlandoh.com.

Web-based Resources are available at www.ashlandoh.com and www.exploreashlandohio.com.

Social Media Channels. Follow @AshlandOHChamber and @ExploreAshland on Facebook.

Public Health Updates

Governor DeWine has made three requests of all businesses:

Please do a temperature check of every employee, every day prior to them coming into work.

Please ensure an aggressive cleaning regimen for your surfaces and ensure the ample availability of soap and water and sanitizer for your employees and customers.

If an employee is sick, send them home.

Return to Work Protocol

Employers can send employees home sick, but it is not a requirement for employees to be tested for COVID-19 before returning back to work. Tests are being reserved for only the sickest. Please ensure that your HR teams are not requiring a test for every employee – that is only putting greater strain on the health care system. Here is a great checklist about handling employees during these challenging times from the Ohio Department of Health.

Unemployment Resources

The only way to register is to use the website or phone number at 1-877-644-6562. The web site is: http://unemployment.Ohio.gov or for Hearing Impaired TTY Service dial toll-free: 1-888-642-8203 Individuals can access this contact information 24 hours/7 days a week.

SharedWork Ohio

SharedWork Ohio is an alternative to layoffs for employers. It allows workers to remain employed and employers to retain their staff during times of reduced business activity. Under a SharedWork Ohio plan, employers reduce hours to avert a layoff. The participating employee works the reduced hours, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services provides an unemployment insurance benefit proportionate to their reduced hours.

Interested employers should provide the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services with a list of participating employees and specify their normal weekly hours of work, not to exceed 40 hours and not including overtime. Part-time employees may be eligible, but all employees in an affected unit must have their hours reduced by the same reduction percentage. For more information, please visit JFS.Ohio.gov/SharedWorkOhio.

We are all in this together. And we will come out on the other side stronger than ever.

In the meantime, your Chamber is here to help in any way that we can.

Wednesday, March 18 

-- 10:15 p.m. Ashland laundry basket open

With different businesses having to close (temporarily) during this time of uncertainty, we are still open and running as usual, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to p.m. (last load in 3 p.m. for Coin Custs) and Saturday at 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (last load in noon for coin custs).

-- 5:30 p.m. -- Uniontown Brewing Company to temporarily close

Uniontown Brewing Company announced plans to close the brewery tonight at 7 p.m. until further notice in light of the regulations and the anticipated regulations to come from the state of Ohio.

The closure is temporary and "is in no way a reflection of the business we have received from you, our customers," the downtown restaurant said in a Facebook post. 

"We have been amazed and overwhelmed by the support you have shown us during this time," the Facebook post said. "This decision does not come lightly, but the safety and health of our staff and of our patrons is paramount to us. Please come see us until 7 p.m. tonight."

"Stay safe, and we will see you as soon as this virus is gone, and we can open our doors to you again. Much love and thanks from your UBC Family. See you soon." 

-- 2:30 p.m. -- Read the full story from today's local press conference 

-- 12:10 p.m. -- Ashland County has its first confirmed, positive case of COVID-19

-- 11:27 a.m. University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center cancels elective surgeries

As a trusted, responsible health care system, UH Samaritan Medical Center is committed to joining health care providers across the nation to respond to Governor Mike DeWine’s declaration on March 18. UH Samaritan Medical Center is canceling non-essential surgeries and procedures. This helps ensure we minimize any risk of exposure to our staff, providers and the community. It also helps preserve and manage our supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as we continue to care for our Ashland community.

Our providers value the physician-patient relationship and will work together with the patient to make the best decisions on a case-by-case basis. We are currently working with our providers to ensure notifications to our patients are being made. Every patient is important to us and we are committed to ensuring their specific care requirements are met in the most compassionate and safest way possible.

-- 9:30 a.m. -- Ashland Schools offer food pick-up delivery scheule

Get the latest on the city of Ashland's food pick-up and delivery schedule at ashlandcityschools.org.

-- 8:30 a.m. -- Ashland County leaders press conference slated for today at noon

The city of Ashland's Mayor Matt Miller, village of Loudonville's Steve Stricklen and representatives of the Ashland County Emergency Management Office and Ashland County Health Department are expected to hold a press conference today at noon. 

Watch live on Ashland Source's Facebook page

Tuesday, March 17 

-- 8:30 p.m. -- Ashland Community Prayer Breakfast Canceled

The annual Ashland Community Prayer Breakfast Thursday, May 7 that was to feature Alan (Al) Robertson of ‘Duck Dynasty’ has been canceled, according to Pastor John Bouquet of Bethel Baptist Church

He shared the news at Ashland City Council Tuesday evening. 

The Ashland County Ministerial Association, which organizes the breakfast, intends to pray that Robertson could come to Ashland new spring instead, Bouquet said. 

A prayer breakfast this year may be held thirty days or so after it becomes safe to gather. 

In the coming weeks and months, a group of religious leaders intends to gather (in whatever numbers are allowed and in compliance with social distancing recommendations) to pray every Sunday for the wellbeing of Ashland, the United States and the world. 

Ashland Community Prayer Breakfast with 'Duck Dynasty' speaker canceled

-- 8:10 p.m. Resources available for Ohio employers facing layoffs, shutdown

All Ohio employers planning a mass layoff or shutdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic should provide the following mass-layoff number – 2000180 – and the second link below to an instructional sheet to their employees to speed the processing of unemployment benefits.

COVID-19-affected claimants with otherwise valid applications for unemployment will be awarded benefits. While claimants must still meet the weekly requirements that they be able and available for work, the requirement that they actively search for work while receiving benefits has been waived.

COVID-19-affected contributory employers will receive regular monthly charge statements, but these charges will be charged to the mutual account and not the employer’s account.

Reimbursing employers will follow existing charging requirements under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4141.

For more information, please see the press release at the following link:

Press Release: http://jfs.ohio.gov/RELEASES/pdf/031620-ODJFS-Provides-COVID-Number.stm

Instructional Sheet: https://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS00671

-- 4:30 p.m. -- Loudonville issues press release on operation of village office 

As the public health guidance surrounding COVID-19 evolves, the Loudonville Village Office has announced plans to adapt its operations in order to continue to serve Loudonville residents. 

Beginning March 16 and through at least April 3, the Village Office will be closed to walk-in customers in an action taken by Mayor Steve Stricklen, according to a press release issued Tuesday afternoon.

The release says Stricklen's actions are intended to minimize the spread of COVID-19.  In addition to restricted office access, other short term implementations are:

- Events in the Ohio Theatre have been cancelled, or postponed until further notice.

- Youth Building rentals are cancelled until further notice.

- Public Restrooms on Brentwood are closed.

Because the village office is closed, water bill payments can be placed in the gray locked mailbox outside the Village Office door.  Water customers can also take advantage of the convenient online payment option available at www.loudonville-oh.us. 

The village office staff is expected to continue to assist with the preparation of village income tax returns for taxpayers. A drop-off return preparation service will be offered in lieu of the village's typical walk-in service. 

If you need assistance with your Loudonville Village return, you can drop off your tax information in the gray locked mailbox in the lobby of the Village Office/Ohio Theatre/Police Department.  The city of Loudonville staff will then prepare your return, contact you with results and mail a copy of the prepared return for your records.  This service remains free of charge. 

Residents are asked that they do not enter the lobby of the Village Office building if you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.  The village is still available to assist with both Village water bills and income tax questions by phone at 419-994-3214.

The Village of Loudonville is closely monitoring and evaluating the guidance and directives from the State of Ohio as they are issued, the press release said.  

"We remain committed to offering outstanding service, protecting the health of our employees and our taxpayers, and keeping you updated when our processes change," the press release said. 

-- 4:20 p.m. -- Ashland Public Library closes until further notice

It is with much consideration that the Ashland Public Library has decided to close all operations to the public until further notice.

This decision was difficult to make as the library has always been seen as a community hub, however the current situation calls for action. The scientific evidence that early social distancing can help stop the spread of the coronavirus was a compelling factor in taking this precautionary step on behalf of our patrons, staff, and our community during this global health crisis.

While the library is closed, and Bookmobile/Outreach Suspended our digital resources will still be available for you to use. We encourage you to take advantage of the many online resources found on our website: www.ashland.lib.oh.us. This includes access to thousands of digital eBooks and Audiobooks the Overdrive or Libby apps on your device. Step-by-step instructions for downloading these apps can be found on our website.

Wi-Fi will still be available outside the library 24/7 the networks are APL-Guest or APL-Outdoor and the password for both is: connected. Devices can be used from the car or on the benches outside the library. Please note if a large number of devices are utilizing the Wi-Fi, the service may be limited on speed.

Please enjoy the materials you currently have checked out. The book drop will be closed for the duration of our closure. Due dates will be extended and all overdue fines will be waived.

Stay tuned to our website and Facebook account for updated information as this situation continues to evolve.

Ashland, Loudonville Public Libraries both closed, offer wifi from parking lots

-- 1:02 p.m. -- Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter switches to working remotely

In an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter staff has switched to working remotely.

Based on guidance from state and local public health agencies, the Association’s staff started working 100 percent remotely to ensure continued care and support of local families. Alzheimer’s Association development, research, and advocacy efforts will also continue as the Chapter works to execute its mission at the highest possible level.

“The health and safety of our constituents, volunteers and staff remain our driver as we address the COVID-19 outbreak and as we continue to pursue our mission, today and in the longer term,” Julia Pechlivanos, Executive Director of the Northwest Ohio Alzheimer’s Association, said.

The Association will re-evaluate these measures on an ongoing basis and resume in person engagements as soon as possible, based on public health guidelines. Meetings and events, such as care consultations, will be conducted by phone or video conference whenever possible.

The Association’s HelpLine is available 24/7 for around-the-clock care and support. That phone number is 1-800-272-3900. During normal business hours, the public can also call the Alzheimer’s office at 419-537-1999. Individuals can go online for information at alz.org/nwohio.

-- 12:56 p.m. -- Price is Right Live rescheduled for Aug. 30 in Columbus

The Price is Right Live has been rescheduled for Sunday, August 30, and is back on sale to the public.

Tickets already purchased for the previous date will be honored, and ticketholders need only to present them at the Palace Theatre on Aug. 30.

Ticket purchasers who prefer a refund can contact the CBUSArts Ticket Center via phone at 614-469-0939. Refund requests will be accepted through Thursday, July 30.

We appreciate your patience!

-- 11:59 a.m. -- Nikki Glaser: Bang It Out rescheduled for Nov. 27

Nikki Glaser: Bang It Out has been rescheduled for Friday, November 27, and is back on sale to the public.

Tickets already purchased for the previous date will be honored, and ticketholders need only to present them at the Southern Theatre on Nov. 27.

Ticket purchasers who prefer a refund have until Tuesday, October 27, to submit a request. If the tickets were purchased through CBUSArts, a refund can be requested through the CBUSArts Ticket Center via phone at 614-469-0939. If the tickets were purchased through Ticketmaster, a refund may be requested via phone at 800-653-8000.

We appreciate your patience!

-- 11:50 a.m. Ashland Symphony Orchestra has cancelled all Spring events

The Ashland Symphony Orchestra has cancelled all Spring events due to COVID-19. Ticket holders will be contacted. Please contact ASO office at: 419-289-5115 or email: symphony@ashland.edu for more information.

-- 11:40 a.m. -- The city of Ashland gathered several local restaurant owners Tuesday morning to deliver a message to the community.

Mayor Matt Miller encouraged residents to support these and other local restaurants this St. Patrick's Day by ordering carry-out to delivery.  

photo op

The city of Ashland gathered several local restaurant owners Tuesday morning to deliver a message to the community. Mayor Miller encouraged residents to support these and other local restaurants this St. Patrick's Day by ordering carry-out to delivery.  

-- 11:13 a.m. -- Loudonville Library closes until further notice.

The Loudonville Public Library Board of Trustees has determined that the Loudonville Public Library will be closed until further notice effective March 16 at 9 p.m., according to its website.

"After careful consideration of information, this decision was made for the safety of both patrons and staff. We apologize for the inconvenience," the message said. 

People are encouraged to continue to check the library's Facebook page and website for future updates.  

-- 10:52 a.m. -- Local Dining Website Created to Find Restaurant Options during COVID-19 Shutdown

In partnership with Spire Advertising, the Ashland County's visitor’s bureau website will maintain an updated listing for restaurants and bars offering carryout and delivery options.

Visit ashlanddining.com

Local dining website created to help find restaurant options during COVID-19 shutdown

-- 9 a.m. -- In this column, Ashland Main Street's Sandra Tunnell explains why it's important to support local businesses. 

-- 7:30 a.m. -- How to support local businesses despite COVID-19 and its growing impact

A chalkboard sign outside Downtown Ashland's Fig & Oak last Friday read, "spread love, not germs." 

The owner of the small specialty store at 100 West Main Street, Julie Mitchell said her mother wrote the message last week after the first few Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were confirmed in Ohio.

Since then, the Coronavirus has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, 50 (or more) cases have been confirmed statewide and Governor Mike DeWine has taken unprecedented actions in Ohio by closing schools for three weeks, restricting visitation at nursing homes and as of Sunday evening, closing dine-in service at all bars and restaurants until further notice.  

For places like O'Bryan's Pub on Claremont Avenue, this news comes directly before what's typically its busiest day of the year.  The bar's annual St. Patrick's Day party normally packs the bar with hundreds of customers into the night, but this Tuesday, the bar will be bare. In response to the newly announced regulations, O'Bryan's Pub is offering carry out during limited hours, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and soon, delivery will be implemented. Bartenders and servers will be transitioning into delivery roles, a Facebook post explained. 

"We're hoping to keep our employees covered the best we can. We're sorting out the pieces as we go," said business owner Brad Bryan. "We're taking to go orders right now and considering delivery. Bills will still keep going."

He promises a Saint Patrick's Day Party will be planned when it's allowed and safe for the community to come together again.

Read more.

-- 7:20 a.m. -- The polls are closed today, according to the Ashland County Board of Elections. This decision was made late last night after an order to close the polls came from  the Ohio Director of Health. 

Monday, March 16

-- 11:57 p.m. -- Ohio's Primary Election apparently postponed

-- 8:31 p.m. -- Ashland City Council will hold its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, March 17 at 7 p.m. within Council Chambers on the third floor of city hall. The meeting will be live streamed from the City of Ashland's Facebook page and Armstrong Cable's channel 2. 

In order to comply with counsel of local health officials, citizens are encouraged to only attend if they have a particular item that needs addressed by council. Due to recently suggested social distancing requirements, seating will be limited. 

-- 7:47 p.m. -- Ashland Board of Elections plans emergency 8:15 p.m. meeting 

Ashland County Board of Elections director Shannon Johnson has shared that an emergency meeting is being held at 8:15 p.m. this evening to determine what's going on with elections and how they could be held locally tomorrow. Ashland Source will share more information this evening.

Gov. DeWine recommended earlier today that elections be postponed, however, this decision could be rejected. 

Governor recommends Ohio primary election be extended to June 2

-- 7:41 p.m. Social Security offices closed

All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This decision protects the population we serve—older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—and our employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, we are still able to provide critical services.

Please read our press release to learn more, including how to get help from the Social Security Administration by phone and online. You can also visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page to learn more and stay up to date.

Please share this message with your friends and loved ones.

-- 5:31 p.m. Ashland Symphony Orchestra cancels Spring events

The Ashland Symphony Orchestra announces the cancellation of all Spring events due to the unprecedented impact of the current health crisis. Ticket holders, sponsors, and others involved with the events will be contacted.

These events include the Beethoven’s 5th-5K, March 28; Friends of the ASO Spring Luncheon and Swishing event, April 4; ASO Donor Appreciation Event, April 14; and Ode to Our 50th! Concert, April 18.

Martha Buckner, Executive Director, and Rev. Tom Snyder, ASO Board President, would like to thank all of the musicians, sponsors, patrons, and board members for their continued dedication to the Ashland Symphony Orchestra.

Please contact the ASO office at 419-289-5115 or email symphony@ashland.edu for more information.

-- 3:05 p.m. Ashland Symphony Orchestra cancels Beethoven 5K

The Beethoven's 5th-5K scheduled for March 28, 2020 has been canceled.

-- 2:05 p.m. -- Crestview Board of Education meeting moved

Crestview Board of Education meeting has been moved to the Crestview High School Auditorium. 

-- 1:20 p.m. -- UH Samaritan Medical Center implements new visitation restrictions

University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center is implementing new visitation restrictions in light of COVID-19. 

"While we understand this may cause concern, we must be diligent in taking proactive preventive measures to protect our patients, caregivers and the broader community," said senior marketing strategist Noah Gangi in a press release.

For General Medical Inpatient floor/ Emergency Department/ Surgery & Outpatient floor/ Rehabilitation patient visitors:

All visitors must check in at the Main entrance and Emergency Room entrance and be screened for the following: 

- Travel history: No international travel in the prior 14 days

- Symptom-free: No flu-like symptoms, cough, fever, runny nose, shortness of breath, etc.

- No exposure or contact with COVID-19: suspected or diagnosed individual within the prior 30 days

One visitor per day will be allowed in the patient's room. No minors under the age of 18 will be allowed. All visitors will need to sign into the visitor's log with contact information, travel and symptom screening information. 

Further, all visitors may be subject to temperature assessment. 

For UH Seidman Cancer Center patients:

Because people with cancer often have weakened immune systems, it’s harder for their bodies to fight off infections, the press release explained, saying it is especially important for people with cancer and their family members to protect themselves from infection. 

- Any patient with flu-like symptoms should call their physician prior to their appointment.

- All individuals are being screened for symptoms of respiratory illness at the entrance of the clinic.

- Patients should only wear a mark in the clinic if directed to by staff. 

- Parients should only bring one additional person to their appointment. They should avoid bringing children under age 18. 

For Birthing & Women’s inpatients:

 Visitors will be limited to the same two adult visitors for the duration of their hospital stay.These visitors will be screened for symptoms of respiratory illness upon entrance to the unit.

- All visitors will need to sign into the visitor's log with contact information, travel and symptom screening information. 

- All visitors may be subject to temperature assessment.

For inpatients with confirmed COVID-19 and those who are PUI (person under investigation):

 – No visitors will be allowed, except for pediatric patients who will be limited as stated above.

For cafeteria services: 

Cafeteria services will be restricted to staff and patients. No outside visitors.

"University Hospitals is committed to helping our community understand and manage their health and wellbeing," Gangi said in the release. "We appreciate your understanding and support as we take reasonable and responsible actions for the safety of our patients, caregivers and community.

Additional assistance and tools cab be found at www.UHhospitals.org on the UH Coronavirus webpage or by calling the Ohio Department of Health hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Visitors can also get screened using UH Virtual Visit. Text UH VirtualVisit to 635483 or call 1-888-515-2190. All UH Visitor Restriction Rules are subject to change at any time.

UH Samaritan Medical Center implements new visitation restrictions in response to COVID-19

-- 12:53 p.m. -- Ashland University is suspending face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

Ashland University is suspending face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester in response to COVID-19, which has been found to be community-spread in Ohio.

Online instruction, which is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, March 18, will continue through the end of the spring semester.

All residential students attending Ashland University have been asked to move out of their rooms by 6 p.m. Sunday, March 22.

AU recognizes there are some students whose personal or family situations make it impossible to return to campus, the press release said. Those who cannot follow this process should email reslife@ashland.edu. 

Students who are unable to return to their homes, including international students, or students whose permanent residence is Ashland University, must complete the Special Housing Request Form  as soon as possible and no later than March 20.

Communications regarding the specifics of the move-out schedule will be sent to students from the Office of Residence Life. 

Any student exhibiting COVID-19-type symptoms (fever, cough, body aches, fatigue), is asked to call a health care provider before visiting campus. Students who have in the last 14 days been to a Level three, travel-restricted country, have been on a cruise, been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 or attended any event in which an attendee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 must contact reslife@ashland.edu to coordinate alternative move-out procedures. 

Housing status changes will be processed as soon as possible. Residence hall and apartment access will be deactivated no later than Sunday, March 22 at 6 p.m.

The University is currently establishing a "fair and equitable way" to offer refunds for room, board and certain fees, the press release said. Additional information is forthcoming.

At this point, the University is also canceling all face-to-face May 9 commencement activities. This decision complies with the March 15 CDC advisory limiting in-person events to 50 people or fewer for the next eight weeks.

Read more: AU suspends face-to-face classes for remainder of spring semester

AU suspends face-to-face classes for remaining spring semester

-- 12:41 p.m. -- A Message from Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce's interim president 

In an email Monday, interim president of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce Amy Daubenspeck outlined three topics: available support to restaurants and bars, what the community may need to know about Unemployment Insurance Benefits and how the Ashland County Emergency Management Agency Needs Support

1. Available support for Restaurant and Bars

The Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control will allow a bar or restaurant to return unopened high proof liquor products purchased within the past 30 days as a way to provide economic assistance to bar and restaurant owners during the coronavirus pandemic. More information here.

2. Coronavirus and Unemployment Insurance Benefits

An executive order issued by Governor DeWine expands flexibility for Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits during Ohio's emergency declaration period.

Unemployment benefits will be available for eligible individuals who are requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if they are not actually diagnosed with COVID-19. In addition, the waiting period for eligible Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits will be waived. More information here.

3. Ashland County Emergency Management Agency Needs Support

Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Personal Protective Equipment is going to run out - especially in our community fire and EMS agencies. We as a county have planned for such a situation as this, but resources are only available on a limited supply or not at all due to demand.

If your business or you as an individual have any of the following items to spare for our first responders and medical professionals - your contribution would be greatly appreciated:

  • Latex gloves
  • N-95 Masks
  • Surgical Masks
  • Gowns
Please drop off donations to the Emergency Management Agency office located at 1763 State Route 60 - Ashland, Ohio 44805. 

-- 11:16 a.m. -- Library doors close, windows open

 Effective at 7 p.m. on Monday March 16, 2020 the Ashland Public Library will close its doors to the public.

However, materials will still be available for check-out through what will be the new ‘window-library’. This will be operating under our regular hours.

Periodic updates will be posted on our website and social media platforms as information becomes available.

"While we recognize that the library is an essential service for many, we also acknowledge the unprecedented positon we find ourselves in," the library said in a press release. 

The ‘window-library’ will be a limited service library located at the window next to the drop box at the front of the library. Staff members will be there to assist patrons in placing holds, picking up materials, and choosing the next items to check out all through the library’s window.

Materials for checkout will be limited to those available at the Ashland Public Library, as the library will no longer be receiving shipments from other libraries.

"We apologize for the short notice of this closure, but encourage you to take advantage of the many online resources found on our website," the press release said. 

The library's website, www.ashland.lib.oh.us, includes access to thousands of digital resources through the Overdrive or Libby apps on your device. Simply download the app enter your library card number, enter your pin number, and start downloading eBooks and digital audiobooks. If you have any questions or need assistance through this process call 419-289-8188.

"Also, since many of the schools are closed and kids, teens, and adults alike are in need of internet access the library is here to help. The library has purchased additional Wi-Fi capabilities to increase the capacity of service and to extend Wi-Fi into our parking lot," the press release said.

Anyone in need of internet service that has a laptop, phone, tablet or other device the Wi-Fi name is APL-Guest or APL-Outdoor and the password for both is ‘connected’. Devices can be used from the car or on the benches outside the library. Please note if a large number of devices are utilizing the Wi-Fi, the service may be limited on speed.

As this change occurs other limitations previously in place are still in effect until further notice: All library programs and Meeting Room events are canceled; All Outreach and Bookmobile services are suspended; The Friends of the Library will no longer be taking any donations; Toys, Board Games, Launch Pads, and Bags are no longer available for checkout.

"We always strive to service the public in every way possible, but with the current situation we want to keep our staff members, our community, and our patrons safe," the release said. "Please stay home and do not visit us if you are not feeling well."

The ‘window-library’ and its availability are subject to change based on the evolving situation. 

The Ashland Public Library closes doors, but opens windows to continue service

-- 9:30 a.m. -- In response to Gov. DeWine's Sunday evening announcement, dozens of local restaurants, bars and other businesses, too, are changing how they offer their services. 

Below are many of the updates, we've already been informed of. Please share additional local business changes in the box below & we'll share that information, too. 

- Uniontown Brewing Company in Downtown Ashland will be working to set up for carry out orders, beer fills and the possibilities of delivery.

"Please continue to check out our page for further information. We will continue to update here of any changes. As always, thank you. Stay safe out there and continue to support your local small businesses. What a wonderful community we live in." 

See more on the business's Facebook. 

- Downtown Perk on Main Street said the following on its Facebook Page: "Hey everyone! In response to the recent government orders, we will not have any dining in option for now. All the drinks and to-go orders will continue as normal."

Llimited hours will be implemented from 7-2 p.m. on weekdays. More updates may come daily on the business's Facebook page.  

"We are being forced to go day-by-day right now, and promise to communicate the best we can. For now, please keep making us your stop. Call in with any orders you’d like to pick up, and we can have it ready for you.

"And in the meantime, we are taking every precaution to assure that our products and work environment are safe. If you have any questions, please reach out."

- Fig & Oak of Ashland's Main Street announced pick up and delivery options. 

"To make your life a little easier and to keep you safe, we are offering free delivery within Ashland City limits or for those of you outside the limits we will be offering curbside pickup for any orders of $25 plus. Just choose in-store pickup at checkout and we will deliver same day to your doorstep free of charge.

"Orders placed on Sunday will be delivered on Monday. Click the link in our profile to place your first order. We so look forward to serving you." 

More information is available on the business's Facebook Page

Sunday, March 15

-- 5:30 p.m. -- Bars and restaurants around Ohio must close Sunday night at 9, according to Gov. Mike DeWine, citing the need for improved social distancing due to coronavirus.

The governor, in a Sunday afternoon press conference, said he received texts and emails from people showing crowded bars and restaurants from Saturday night, prompting the need for more drastic action. 

DeWine said carry-out and delivery options are still available for restaurants, and encouraged people not to stop patronizing these establishments. 

Read more: DeWine orders bars, restaurants to close at 9

-- 10 a.m. -- Ashland area pastors and spiritual leaders will join together Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. at the Ashland City Municipal Building Council Chambers to pray for the defeat of the Coronavirus in Ashland County, the United States and the world. 

The prayer session will be broadcast to Facebook Live from 2 to 2:30 p.m. 

Saturday, March 14

-- 9:34 a.m. -- Update on the emergency fund established for Ashland City School lunches

UPDATED: Saturday, March 14  at 9:34 a.m.

ASHLAND -- An emergency response fund has been established at Ashland County Community Foundation to help Ashland City Schools and The Salvation Army Kroc Center go above and beyond in providing free lunches to the school district’s students during the upcoming remote learning period. 

Following Thursday’s order from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ashland City Schools announced plans to close all school buildings for at least three weeks starting after school Friday and established a plan to offer meals to students in need. With a request from Gov. DeWine, the U.S. Department Dept. of Agriculture approved two waiver requests to continue school breakfasts and lunches during the closure. Funding will provide for "grab and go" options. 

Ohio's Department of Education had shared plans to develop a process to give school districts an unprecedented ability to deliver meals, but with the community's help, Ashland City School District aims to take the emergency lunch program a step further.

"Our plan extends beyond the typical brick and mortar lunch program. For example, when we are driving our bus routes to deliver food this week we will have kids on one side of a street that are ACS and kids on the other side of the street that are Mapleton, or any of our bordering districts, we want to provide meals to all of those families," said Superintendent Doug Marrah. "This is a chance for all of us to work together and help kids that are in needs and families.

"Also, we are partnering with the Kroc (Center) and Associated Charities to provide this food. As this crisis evolves we could get more state/fed dollars than we currently are aware of for this service, if so, we will work ACCF to give the dollars raised to Associated Charities & the Kroc." 

Ashland County Community Foundation Executive Director James Cutright agreed to house an emergency fund at the foundation to collect donations.

"There will be considerable local resources expended to make these lunches available to any family needing help during this unusual time, not just those on the free and reduced lunch program, the costs of which are not government-funded," Cutright said.

Communications director for the Foundation, Courtney McNaull expanded on this, too. 

"The federal free and reduced lunch program is tiered and has income restrictions. Ashland City schools wants to go above and beyond by offering lunch delivery to any student whose family requests it," McNaull said. "Also as the bus drivers drive their regular routes, there are some streets where kids on one side of the street are in the Ashland district and on the other they are in a bordering district. Ashland wants the ability to provide food for some of those neighbors if needed." 

Cutright explained how the fund differs from the already existing “No Child Goes Hungry Fund," an endowment fund, with restricted distributions to preserve principal. 

Unlike a majority of the foundation’s funds, the emergency response fund is a pass-through fund rather than an endowment fund. This means the money that is donated will be directed to the lunch program rather than invested to generate annual income.

"This ACCF pass-through fund will be activated any time there is a local emergency, as a way to ensure that charitable dollars can be managed in a low-fee, efficient, credible way, as most folks have tremendous confidence in ACCF’s reputation of doing what’s best for those with needs in Ashland County," Cutright said. 

ACCF will take no fees from the money donated to the emergency fund. Only a 3 percent credit card fee will be deducted. To donate to the “Emergency Response (Pass-Through) Fund online,” click here.

Checks also may be sent to Ashland County Community Foundation, 300 College Ave., Ashland.

Food pick-up is available for at Ashland Middle School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the following dates: Tuesday, March 17, Thursday, March 19, Monday, March 23, Wednesday, March 25 and Friday, March 27. Ashland City Schools will also deliver food to selected locations throughout the school district beginning Tuesday, March 17. Associated Charities and The Salvation Army Kroc Center will provide food on days when the school district does not.

To sign up for food deliveries, families can send text messages through Remind, texting @73h6k to 81010; or call Business Manager Steve Paramore at 419-289-4502.

For further information and updates on the lunch program, visit Ashland City Schools’ website, www.ashlandcityschools.org.

About Ashland County Community Foundation: Ashland County Community Foundation advances philanthropy and improves the quality of life in Ashland County by supporting charitable activities, providing and administering planned giving programs, and serving as responsible stewards of scholarship, as well as individual and organizational funds for specific charities. ACCF has awarded over $15.3 million in scholarships, grants and distributions.

Friday, March 13

-- 9 p.m. -- GLIAC cancels athletic-related activity through May 31

Effective immediately, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in consultation with the Council of Presidents and athletic directors, has canceled all athletically-related activity through May 31, 2020. During this unprecedented world-wide fight against the COVID-19 threat, the GLIAC supports national and NCAA efforts to protect student-athletes, coaches, fans and communities.

More information will be released as it becomes available.

-- 8:30 p.m. -- An emergency response fund has been established At Ashland County Community Foundation to help Ashland City Schools and The Salvation Army Kroc Center provide free lunches to the school district’s students during the upcoming remote learning period.

Following Thursday’s order from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ashland City Schools announced plans to close all school buildings for at least three weeks starting after school Friday. Throughout that time, the district plans to offer meals to students in need. However, the district is asking for the community’s help in funding the emergency lunch program.

Ashland County Community Foundation Executive Director James Cutright agreed to house an emergency fund at the foundation to collect donations. Unlike a majority of the foundation’s funds, the emergency response fund is a pass-through fund rather than an endowment fund.

This means the money that is donated will be directed to the lunch program rather than invested to generate annual income. ACCF will take no fees from the money donated. Only a 3 percent credit card fee will be deducted.

To donate to the “Emergency Response (Pass-Through) Fund online,” click here.

Checks also may be sent to Ashland County Community Foundation, 300 College Ave., Ashland.

Food pick-up is available for at Ashland Middle School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the following dates: Tuesday, March 17, Thursday, March 19, Monday, March 23, Wednesday, March 25 and Friday, March 27. Ashland City Schools will also deliver food to selected locations throughout the school district beginning Tuesday, March 17. Associated Charities and The Salvation Army Kroc Center will provide food on days when the school district does not.

To sign up for food deliveries, families can send text messages through Remind, texting @73h6k to 81010; or call Business Manager Steve Paramore at 419-289-4502.

For further information and updates on the lunch program, visit Ashland City Schools’ website, www.ashlandcityschools.org. About Ashland County Community Foundation: Ashland County Community Foundation advances philanthropy and improves the quality of life in Ashland County by supporting charitable activities, providing and administering planned giving programs, and serving as responsible stewards of scholarship, as well as individual and organizational funds for specific charities. ACCF has awarded over $15.3 million in scholarships, grants and distributions.

-- 11:54 a.m. -- We've shared a list of upcoming canceled events. Get the details below. 

-- 11:30 a.m. -- The Mid-Ohio Home Show is canceled. The event had been scheduled to run Friday, March 13 to Sunday, Mar 15 at the Richland County Fairgrounds, 750 N Home Rd. 

-- 9:30 a.m. -- Neos Dance Theatre suspends programs due to COVID-19 precautions and Ohio State mandates to limit large gatherings.

Neos Dance Theatre suspends programs due to COVID-19 precautions and Ohio State mandates to limit large gatherings.

March 12, 2020 Neos Dance Theatre has postponed two public performances scheduled for March 21 in Ashland and March 28 in Mansfield.

In Ashland, Ohio M.A.D.E. in Ashland was to premiere on March 21 at Archer Auditorium. In Mansfield, Ohio Carmina Burana was set for March 28 at the Renaissance Theatre. Both will be rescheduled if possible.

As a small non-profit arts organization with a company of young dancers, Neos is asking ticket holders to considering donating their tickets back to the organization and making an additional tax-deductible donation. Donations can be made at neosdancetheare.org/support

Classes at Neos Center for Dance in Oberlin are canceled and tentatively slated to resume April 3. 

Neos encourages all participants, students, collaborators, donors, sponsors, and audience members to check out www.neosdancetheatre.org, Facebook page Neos Dance Theatre, and E-mail for updates.

For immediate questions and concerns, contact info@neosdancetheatre.org

-- 9:18 a.m. -- Over the past two weeks -- and especially since COVID-19 arrived in Ohio -- the Ashland County Sheriff's Office has implemented proactive measures to protect its inmates and staff at the Ashland County Jail and its officers who respond to emergencies in the community. 

Earlier this week, the Ashland County Jail began a policy that requires every new arrestee to have their temperature taken (across their head).

If the individual tests above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, the new arrival will then be checked for other symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough and shortness of breath. 

"If they have another symptom, we're going to refuse that inmate, if we can, and have them go to the hospital to be checked and cleared, and if they do that, then we'll bring them back in," said Sheriff E. Wayne Risner. 

When the individual returns, they may be placed in an isolated cell if they still exhibit symptoms. The cell has its own ventilation system.

Read more: How the Ashland County Jail is reacting proactively upon COVID-19's arrival to Ohio

-- 7:30 a.m. -- Stay tuned this morning for our coverage on how the Ashland County Jail is responding to COVID-19's arrival to Ohio.

Thursday, March 12 

-- 8:15 p.m. -- Earlier today, Mapleton School District made the following announcement on its website:

"On Thursday, March 12 at approximately 2:45 p.m., Governor DeWine announced the closure of all Ohio schools beginning Monday, March 16 for a three-week period.  

"While there are many implications and details to be worked out in this closure, Mapleton is going to operate on the following modified schedule: Mapleton will be closed on Friday, March 13 for staff professional development."

Read more from Mapleton: www.mapleton.k12.oh.us

-- 7:47 p.m. -- According to a letter from Superintendent Catherine Puster posted on the district's homepage earlier today, teachers in the Loudonville-Perrysville School District are are preparing packets and/or online/web-based assignments for students to complete over the next three weeks. Each building will be open for pick-up on Monday, March 16 as follows: LHS from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm and Budd and McM from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm. Packets not picked up will be mailed home within the week.

All practices and activities are postponed/suspended until further notice. 

Families who receive Free or Reduced lunch/breakfast will be able to pick up meals at the high school on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 from 8 to 10 a.m. These meals will include four lunches and four breakfasts for the week of March 17-20. On March 23-27, families on Free or Reduced will be able to pick-up breakfasts and lunches from 8:00 - 10:00 am. This pick-up will include five lunches and five breakfasts. On March 30, families on Free or Reduced will be able to pick-up breakfasts and lunches from 8:00 - 10:00 am. This pick-up will include five lunches and five breakfasts.
 
While this is not a quarantine situation, it is strongly advised that kids exercise social distancing. Please keep students home and away from others. Governor DeWine advises using common sense and being conscientious that you may put others at risk.
Read updates from Loudonville-Perrysville: www.lpschools.k12.oh.us

-- 6 p.m. -- Ashland City School District has announced plans to close school Monday, March 16, following the Governor’s orders to suspend school due to COVID-19 and adding an extra day to the required closure.

School is in session as normal for Friday March 13, 2020. School will now be closed Monday March 16, 2020.

Read updates from Ashland: www.ashlandcityschools.org

-- 5:55 p.m. -- Hillsdale Local Schools has shared its plans in responding to Gov. DeWine's orders. The district will remain open Friday, but be closed Monday. 

Read updates from Hillsdale: www.hillsdale.k12.oh.us 

-- 5:40 p.m. -- Ashland City Schools issued a statement on The Governor’s School Closure Order. It said the following: 

  • The School District will follow the Governor's orders to suspend school starting Monday afternoon (3/16/20 at 3:30pm), unless Ashland families are notified otherwise from the Superintendent of Schools.
  • We will utilize Friday, the weekend, and Monday to prepare with our staff to learn remotely and plan for the break.
  • Any parent choosing to keep their child home on 3/13/20 and 3/16/20 will have these absences excused, but it is in the students’ best interest to be at school as information will be passed out for the break.
  • Administration is working hard to make decisions to make this as smooth of a transition as possible for our students and their families.
  • We will provide information to the community, staff, and families/students as it becomes available.
  • All extra-curricular activities will be halted effective Friday evening, 3/13/2020, unless otherwise noted.

-- 4:24 p.m. -- UH Samaritan Medical Center issues a press release as a community events update. 

The press release recognizes UH's commitment to help our community understand and manage their health and wellbeing, but says given the rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19, including newly confirmed case in Ohio, the center is taking precautionary efforts. 

As such, out of an abundance of caution, the center will postpone its community events. 

"We know these wellness events are important to celebrate and inspire your health, so we will look to reschedule as soon as we know it's safe to do so," the release said. "We appreciate your understanding and support as we take reasonable and responsible actions for the safety of our patients and our communities."

The events will be rescheduled when it's safe to do so. 

Any questions about event postponement should be sent to communityevents@uhhospitals.org.  In the meantime, tools are available at uhhospitals.org

American Red Cross Blood Drive events will continue. The next event is April 10 at 663 E. Main Street in Ashland. For information about that, visit www.redcross.org

-- 4:08 p.m. -- In order to safely and effectively continue serving the community in Ashland County, The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Ashland will be instituting the following changes, effective immediately and until further notice, in response to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Community Meals will continue to be served daily (Monday-Friday) from 11am to 11:30 a.m. but will be takeout only. If driving, please pull into the front loop for service, starting at 10:55 a.m. If walking, please come to the front doors to be served.

  • The Food Pantry will continue to operate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but these bags will be more standardized and delivered outside to the car or person waiting. The Pantry will not be allowing clients inside to pick out individual orders. Please call ahead (419-282-4223) for appointments and requests.

  • All Music Programming, including our visits to nursing homes and assisted living facilities are suspended until further notice.

  • All in-facility programming such as walkers club, bounce and play, self-defense, card club, and all other programs not listed are suspended until further notice.

  • The Kroc Soccer playoffs have been canceled. This includes practices effective immediately. Having finished the regular season awards will be distributed when the capacity allows. 

  • Our after-school program, the Learning Zone, will be closed effective Monday, March 16th until further notice. (As of now 3 weeks minimum to follow the Governor’s directive)

  • The building will be open for essential personnel only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until further notice effective Monday, March 16.

    "Our hope and desire is to return to a normal schedule as soon as possible, which may not be until the end of the month. We will continue to serve our community in the most effective and safe manner possible to help provide hope for our friends, family and neighbors here in Ashland County," the Director of Development Brandon Wells said in a press release.

    People are encouraged to check its Facebook page for future updates. 

-- 3:15 p.m. -- The Community Service Awards Banquet planned by the Loudonville Chamber of Commerce on March 14, 2020 at the American Legion in Loudonville has been cancelled.

"With Governor DeWine stating they are signing a ban on public gatherings of over 100 people we will be cancelling the Community Service Awards Banquet scheduled for Saturday," said executive director Valerie Spreng.

It will be rescheduled for a later date so people are encouraged to keep their tickets if they've have already purchased and can contact Spreng with questions.

-- 3:15 p.m. -- All 4-H Clubs will postpone/cancel all face-to-face meetings between now and April 20.

In addition to all 4-H club meetings, the following list of 4-H events qualify as non-essential between now and April 20. Based on these guidelines, these non-essential activities must be postponed/ cancelled/ or held virtually. Examples include (this list is not exhaustive and subject to change at any notice): 4-H committees, including advisory, saddle horse, endowment, etc., Club kick-offs, open houses, etc., Community service projects, Educational clinics

Events put on by advisory or county committees or clubs (including fundraisers, shows, etc.), Fundraisers, Social events (egg hunts, square dances, etc.) and Teen leader groups.

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of viral illnesses is to minimize the circumstances in which individuals might interact and transmit the diseases. The safety of our community is our top priority. We realize that our COVID-19 policy guidelines will cause disruption, but the risk of not acting outweighs the inconvenience of these temporary measures. We will share updates as more information becomes available, a Facebook post said. If you have any questions, please email Kathy Blackford at blackford.10@osu.edu

See more by finding Ashland 4-H on Facebook

-- 2:50 p.m. -- Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered all Ohio schools to close for three weeks starting Monday, March 16.

It will take effect Monday after school lets out. 

"We have today again consulted with experts, so we are announcing today that children in the state will have an extended spring break of 3 weeks. We will review it afterwards. This will begin on Monday," he said in a tweet. 

-- 1:38 p.m. --  An Ashland University student who public health officials identified as a person under investigation for COVID-19 has reported to the University that the test result was negative.

The student was part of a group of AU students who attended last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference event in National Harbor, Maryland. One of the CPAC attendees – not an AU student – later tested positive for the virus. 

The student was the only one in the AU group who became symptomatic. The others, who also were contacted by the Ashland County Health Department, followed the guidelines for self-quarantine. 

None of the students in the group are currently on campus.

-- 1 p.m. -- The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) has postponed all its remaining winter tournaments until further notice. This includes boys basketball regionals and state wrestling, ice hockey and girls basketball. 

-- 12:55 p.m. -- Due to the recommendation of the CDC and Governor Mike DeWine, Ashland Area Economic Development’s Annual Meeting that was scheduled for March 27 has been canceled and will be rescheduled.  

Additionally, the Ashland Christian Health has canceled its 10th annual fundraiser, a popular public event featuring candy sales. 

 -- 10:30 a.m. --  Ashland County's recycling service will be limited for at least the next three weeks, according to Cindy Brady, the Ashland County solid waste coordinator.

Recycle It, the private Cleveland-based company that handles Ashland County's recycling services, has pulled its remote recycling tubs from various locations in Ashland to protect their employees from COVID-19. 

Recycling services will continue to be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1270 Middle Rowsburg Road.

"It's because of the amount of contamination we get in the tubs. Most people do it and do it right, but we have those ones who abuse it and they do get some contamination," Brady said. "Trash, garbage, sometimes some medical waste, diapers, even if someone blows their nose and they throw it in the recycling." 

-- 10:30 a.m.  -- Ashland's American Legion Post 88 cancels bingo for Thursday evening. 

-- 9:41 a.m --  Ashland University provided media with a list of events that have been either cancelled, postponed or relocated.

Cancelations include Ohio Federation of Musicians Competition on March 14 and the Maplerock Jazz Festival on March 20. 

The venue has changed for a middle school concert on March 22. Ashland County Middle School Honors Band Concert will still be held at 4 p.m., but the venue will be Archer Auditorium at Ashland High School. The AU Symphonic Band will not perform.

Postponements include the Ashbrook Center Major Issues Series luncheon with Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway. It  has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 22. If you have already made a reservation, no action is required on your part. Your reservation is good for the rescheduled event. To cancel or make a new reservation, please contact Carrie Clever at cclever@ashbrook.org or (419) 289-5430

Scroll for a list of local cancellations by date.

-- 6 a.m. -- Currently, the Ashland County Health Department is focusing on preparedness efforts. This includes its communication with local businesses and organizations and especially hones in on helping places like Ashland University, local nursing homes and assisted living facilities prepare and develop their plans and protocols. 

"They all have unique living situations. At AU, there's small dorms, shared bathrooms and eating facilities where viruses can easily spread," said Jill Hartson of the department. "And they are more likely to travel and be involved in the community, so the risk of virus spread is greater." 

The objective behind the health department's initiatives is to protect vulnerable populations and prevent local hospitals from being overwhelmed as they have been in places like Italy. This is why precautionary action and lifestyle changes are encouraged for everyone. 

"Bottom line, this is not a time to panic, but it is a time to be aware. It’s a time to protect not only yourself, but our vulnerable populations," Hartson said. "Most people who get coronavirus will be fine. The problem is they can still spread the disease to others, and the at risk populations, they could have a severe life threatening condition." 

Read more: Local approach: What Ashland residents should know of coronavirus and its mitigation efforts

Wednesday, March 11 

-- 4 p.m. -- The Ashland County Board of Elections announced the primary election is expected to continue as scheduled from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17 with safety precautions, which the board of elections partnered with the Ashland County Emergency Management Agency and other local and state health officials to develop. No precincts will be moved as of now, said Director Shannon Johnson. 

Each poll worker will be given their own bottle of hand sanitizer to use frequently throughout the day, and the individual voting stations are expected to be cleaned after each use with disinfecting wipes. Hand sanitizer will be available to voters, too. 

Those who remain concerned about the risk of voting on election day are encouraged to casting their ballot early at the Ashland County Board of Elections Office, located at 110 Cottage, Suite 106. 

See more on this story and a list of early voting hours here. 

-- 5:54 p.m. -- In a letter issued Wednesday afternoon, AU president Carlos Campo outlines what students, employees and community members need to know about the University's efforts to limit the spread of the novel Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) over the coming weeks.

Yesterday, Ashland University had already announced plans to suspend all face-to-face classroom instruction as of Monday, March 16, which was supposed to be the first day of classes following spring break.  Those classes will move to an online format beginning Wednesday, March 18. Today, Campo added students currently enrolled in labs, clinical experiences, studios, internships and student teaching should expect to receive specific instructions from their respective academic programs.

Additionally, all residential students are strongly encouraged to stay home or return to their permanent address until further notice. International students, students without permanent residence or those with other special cases should complete the Special Housing Request Form. Residence halls will remain open for students who need to retrieve essential items, such as books, computers and medications.) Students with questions are asked to contact Residence Life at (419) 289-5303 or reslife@ashland.edu.

For employees, university offices will remain open. All employees are expected to report for work as normal unless otherwise notified. A guide to workplace policies related to COVID-19 is available at www.ashland.edu/COVID-19

As for the community, University facilities will be closed to the public, including the Recreation Center, Library, Accent Room, Eagles’ Nest, Coburn Art Gallery until further notice. 

Read more: AU expands Coronavirus-related precautions for students, employees and community

 -- Ashland City Schools issued a COVID-19 Update with the following information: 

  • The Health and Safety of our students and staff is a #1 Priority for the District
  • We are in communication with any directives from the Ohio Department of Education and the CDC in regards to COVID-19
  • Our School Nurses, Clinic Aides, and Administration will use the protocol encouraged by the Ashland County Health Department and University Hospitals to screen and refer students to their primary health care provider should they show symptoms
  • Our Custodial Staff is very diligent in the cleaning and disinfecting of our facilities using safe and proper chemicals that will eliminate germs on all surfaces and within spaces.
  • The best prevention for respiratory illnesses, in general, are to practice good hand hygiene (wash hands often with soap and water), stay home when ill and to get recommended vaccinations.

Tuesday, March 10 

 -- 8:33 p.m. -- Ashland University students will not return to their in-person classes Monday, March 16 after their spring break, according to a press release issued Tuesday evening. 

In-person classroom instruction is canceled beginning March 16 -- which was set to be the first day of class following spring break -- and will resume in an online format beginning Wednesday, March 18, according to the press release. Normal face-to-face instruction is targeted to resume on March 30. Courses normally offered through an online format will continue as scheduled. 

This move comes in response to the recommendation earlier today from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine that colleges and universities go from in-class to remote instruction in light of the emerging novel Coronavirus situation in Ohio, the press release explained. This situation is evolving and the University is expected to provide subsequent communication in the coming days, including information regarding access to campus and general University operations. 

Read more: Ashland University cancels face-to-face instruction beginning Monday 

-- 2:01 p.m.  -- A group of Ashland University students may have interacted with someone who tested positive for the novel Coronavirus 19, according to a press release issued by Ashland University on Tuesday afternoon.

The students attended the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland from Feb. 26 to 29 and returned to the AU campus the following week before leaving for spring break. It was later discovered that a person attending that same conference has tested positive for Coronavirus, the press release stated. 

Ashland University Safety and Security was notified of the possible exposure of the AU students and contacted both campus officials and the Ashland County Health Department. 

The students have been notified by the Health Department, and they are cooperating fully with Ohio Department of Health guidance. Ashland University officials are working internally to ensure proper protocols are being followed for students, faculty and staff.

Read more: Ashland University responds after students at conference possibly exposed to COVID-19

Tuesday, March 3 

-- 8:33 p.m. --  Ashland University has now canceled two University-sponsored trips as AU officials continue to monitor the status of the Coronavirus (COVID19), according to a statement issued by Public Relations Coordinator Tami Mosser.

Most recently, the University’s spring break trip for 12 students going to Florence, Italy was cancelled and an AU student studying in Florence was recalled, in keeping with University policy to not allow University-sponsored travel in countries with a level 3 alert or higher. A student tour planned for South Korea, which would have left in late February, already was cancelled. 

Read more: AU cancels spring break trip, recalls student from Italy  

Cancelations, postponements and changes to local events by date (Last updated: March 16)

Thursday, March 12 

- American Legion Post 88 of Ashland has cancelled its 7 p.m. bingo. 

Saturday, March 14

- The Community Service Awards Banquet planned by the Loudonville Chamber of Commerce on March 14, 2020 at the American Legion in Loudonville has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled for a later date so people are encouraged to keep their tickets if they've have already purchased and can contact Valerie Spreng with questions.

- The Ashland Christian Health Center has canceled its annual Chocolate fundraiser planned for Saturday. 

- The Community Service Awards Banquet planned by the Loudonville Chamber of Commerce for Saturday evening will be rescheduled.

- The Spring Fling Vendors Event at Ashland County Wildlife Conservation Farm will reschedule. 

- Ohio Federation of Musicians Competition is canceled. 

- The Ohio 4-H Conference set for March 14 is canceled. The Ohio State University has announced the suspension of face-to-face instruction of lectures, seminars, and other similar classroom settings, and the move to virtual instruction effective immediately and through at least March 31. Based on these guidelines, all 4-H Clubs must postpone/cancel all face-to-face meetings between now and April 20.

In addition to all 4-H club meetings, the following list of 4-H events qualify as non-essential between now and April 20. Based on these guidelines, these non-essential activities must be postponed/ cancelled/ or held virtually. Examples include (this list is not exhaustive and subject to change at any notice): 4-H committees, including advisory, saddle horse, endowment, etc., Club kick-offs, open houses, etc., Community service projects, Educational clinics

Events put on by advisory or county committees or clubs (including fundraisers, shows, etc.), Fundraisers, Social events (egg hunts, square dances, etc.) and Teen leader groups.

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of viral illnesses is to minimize the circumstances in which individuals might interact and transmit the diseases. The safety of our community is our top priority. We realize that our COVID-19 policy guidelines will cause disruption, but the risk of not acting outweighs the inconvenience of these temporary measures. We will share updates as more information becomes available, a Facebook post said. If you have any questions, please email Kathy Blackford at blackford.10@osu.edu

Monday, March 16: 

- The Cleo Redd Fisher Museum in Loudonville has announced that their upcoming program, “Terrorizing Immigrants and Catholics: The Ohio Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s” has been postponed. The museum will announce the new date, and other details, once they become available.

The museum will remain open during this time, and other museum events—including the upcoming Brewery Tour and the Bavaria Tour scheduled for this fall—will continue as expected. For more information on both trips, visitors are encouraged to visit www.crfmuseum.com or contact the museum at calling (419) 994-4050.

Wednesday, March 18 

- Initially planned for March 18, Ashbrook Center Major Issues Series luncheon with Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 22. 

If you have already made a reservation, no action is required on your part. Your reservation is good for the rescheduled event. To cancel or make a new reservation, please contact Carrie Clever at cclever@ashbrook.org or 419-289-5430.

- Ashland University's Vctims Of Communism Series: "The Lives Of Others" Film Screening planned for 6 p.m. is canceled. page1image30770496

Friday, March 20 

- Maplerock Jazz Festival is canceled. Maplerock patrons who already purchased tickets will be contacted with further details.

Saturday, March 21 

- MADE in Ashland will be postponed. 

- Loudonville High School's version of The Masked Singer set for Saturday, March 21 to raise money for the Loudonville-Perrysville School Foundation will be rescheduled. 

Sunday, March 22 

- Ashland County Middle School Honors Band Concert will be canceled 4 p.m. Initially, this was only a venue change.  

- The Junior Recitals for Alli Lange (mezzo soprano), Ariane Hill (flute) that were set for March 26 and March 22 respectively will be rescheduled. New dates/times will be announced at a later date.

Thursday, March 26 

- The Junior Recitals for Alli Lange (mezzo soprano), Ariane Hill (flute) that were set for March 26 and March 22 respectively will be rescheduled. New dates/times will be announced at a later date.

Friday, March 27

- Due to the recommendation of the CDC and Governor Mike DeWine, Ashland Area Economic Development’s Annual Meeting that was scheduled for March 27 has been canceled and will be rescheduled.  

April cancelations

- The Odd Couple (Female Version) performances set for April 1-4 at 7:30 p.m. and April 5 at 2 p.m. will be rescheduled. Additionally,  the senior theatre performances by Nikolas Demers and Holly Fongheiser will be rescheduled for later in the semester. Details will be announced soon.

Other announcements 

- Ashland University announced rehearsals for Ashland Area Chorus & Ashland Area Community Concert Band are postponed until March 30.

- In light of the current state of the country and the pending EdChoice legislation, the Northwest Ohio Scholarship Fund has extended its waiting list application deadline to Friday, May 29, 2020 for the 2020-2021 school year.

NOSF awards need-based scholarships for private school tuition and homeschool expenses for grades K-8. To learn more go to https://nosf.org/, or to Apply https://nosf.org/i-want-apply

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