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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke September 10, 2020

CDC and FEMA aren’t separating students and parents in Ohio because of COVID-19

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  • A CDC advisory shares recommendations for how to care for children during disasters that may cause children to be temporarily separated from their families. It says nothing about COVID-19.
     
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called online rumors about the state creating FEMA camps and separating families "garbage."
 

An image shared on Instagram warns of tyranny, courtesy of the Centers for Disease control and Protection and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

"CDC announces that students may be kept from parents overnight as Ohio sets up COVID-19 FEMA camps," a screenshot of a headline says. 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

The story with that headline was posted on Big League Politics on Sept. 7.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning parents that their children may be kept from their parents overnight due to COVID-19 concerns, as states set up COVID-19 shelters where infected individuals could be forcibly quarantined," the story says. 

But the CDC advisory the website links to as evidence says nothing of the sort. 

The advisory is titled: "Easy as ABC: Three steps to protect your child during emergencies in the school day." It concerns recommendations for how to care for children during disasters such as severe weather events that may cause children to be temporarily separated from families.

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The advisory doesn’t mention COVID-19 or the coronavirus. Rather, it suggests bringing "extra medicines, special food, or supplies your child would need if you were separated overnight" and filling out a "backpack card" that lists the names and contact information of parents, guardians or caregivers. 

"An emergency might require a sleepover," the advisory says. "Tell school administrators about any extra supplies your child may need to safely make it through a night away from home."

The Big League Politics story also cites an unrelated Aug. 31 order from the director of Ohio’s health department to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The director ordered the use of shelters for people who need to quarantine or isolate themselves and can’t do so safely in their own homes. The order says nothing about separating students from their parents. 

During a press conference on Sept. 8, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called online rumors about the state creating FEMA camps and separating families "garbage," according to the Plain Dealer newspaper.

"There’s just absolutely no truth in this," he said. "There’s no substance behind it."  

FEMA money has reimbursed the state for the costs of housing some hospital workers in hotels so they wouldn’t expose vulnerable family members to COVID-19, DeWine said. But claims that families would be forcibly separated because of the coronavirus are "absolutely ridiculous," he said. "There is no intention to separate children."

We rate this Instagram post Pants on Fire.

 

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CDC and FEMA aren’t separating students and parents in Ohio because of COVID-19

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