CCAD moves online for the fall semester, local officials cause a stir on Twitter and more happenings from the first weekend in August

CCAD announced on Friday that it would shift to a primarily online learning model for the upcoming fall semester in response to the recent coronavirus spike in Ohio. In May, administrators believed a return to campus was the most likely scenario for a new school year, and the university had undertaken plans to welcome returning students, even making more than 1,000 laser-cut masks from neoprene-like material for everyone on campus. At the same time, plans were also made to better facilitate distance learning should it become a necessity, including adopting a common platform for online instruction, with an aim of avoiding some of the hiccups caused by the abrupt shift to the web when in-person classes were called off during the initial appearance of COVID-19 in Ohio. (Read about the ways staff and students adapted to the sudden change in this May Alive feature.) The school is expected to release more detailed plans later this week, and fall classes begin on Aug. 24.

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Rob Portman caused a brief stir on Friday when Angela Meleca, executive director for the arts advocacy group Ohio Citizens for the Arts, was temporarily blocked on Twitter by the Ohio Senator.

Just doing my job advocating on behalf of Ohio’s Arts and Culture sector. Asking our US Senators to support upcoming legislation that would help save our economy. And I get blocked by@senrobportman on Twitter. Wow. I guess he doesn’t care about the arts or his constituents?pic.twitter.com/lmExqCTrFR

— AngelaPMeleca (@AngelaPMeleca)July 31, 2020

In response to an email from Alive, a spokesperson for Portman said that Meleca had been blocked in error, writing, “Our office has a strict no blocking policy to ensure that all constituents can communicate with us via social media,” and reinstating her access.

Follow-up questions about the policy, as well as a question about Portman’s position on funding the arts amid a pandemic-driven downturn, went unanswered.

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Also potentially in some Twitter-induced hot water is Ken Kuebler, deputy chief for the Columbus Division of Police, whose postings on the social media platform are currently subject to investigation by city officials, according to a Dispatch report.

On Twitter, Kuebler has responded to the news as anyone familiar with his account might expect, by quoting George Orwell (“Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”) and setting himself up as a free speech martyr (“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”). All of this between posts downplaying the threat of the coronavirus and mocking the concept of masking.

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With the one-year anniversary of the Dayton shooting fast approaching, the Dispatch reported that the Republican-controlled legislature has yet to vote on a single piece of gun legislation. This despite Gov. Mike DeWine’s promises to act in the days following the tragedy. (When DeWine spoke in Dayton in the aftermath of the shooting, shouts of “do something!” temporarily drowned out his speech.)

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In welcome distractions, the Blue Jackets finally returned to the ice on Sunday, notching a 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Jackets now hold a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five qualifying round series, with game two scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Aug. 4.