“At this time, we are staying with the optional use of facial coverings, but strongly recommend use by staff and students. We will closely monitor the data in our schools. We wouldn’t hesitate to change our stance if the data indicates a need to do so,” she said.
Other area school officials echoed the strategy but some, such as Butler County’s most populous district – the 16,800-student Lakota Schools – have switched to requiring all in its 22 school buildings to mask up.
It’s a policy designed to keep more students attending classes, said Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for Lakota.
“Face coverings are required for all students and staff at Lakota Schools, unless a waiver has been approved by the building administrator. In addition to being strongly recommended by health professionals in our area and across the country, by requiring masks, more of our students are able to stay in school instead of being quarantined,” said Fuller.
Middletown Schools last week also switched from recommended to mandatory masks.
Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for Warren County’s largest district – Mason Schools – said mask requirements there are varied by grades.
“We require masks for students in grades PK-6, and it is strongly recommended for students in grades 7-12. All staff are required to wear a mask when they are within 6 feet of a student,” said Carson.
The adjacent Kings Schools has the same policy.
“We know masks are not perfect. They do not guarantee 100% protection; however, they do provide an additional layer in the overall mitigation strategy. We are committed to keeping kids safe and in school,” she said.
Dirk Allen, spokesman for Badin High School – Butler County’s only Catholic high school – said the current policy for its more than 600 students is “strongly recommended.”
The urging for masks is “particularly for those who are not vaccinated, but (masks) are not required at this time. We will adjust our mask policy as necessary as health circumstances warrant,” said Allen.
Ohio reported just over 3,000 daily cases of coronavirus Monday, with 3,091 cases recorded in the last day, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
After a week where the state surpassed 4,000 and 5,000 daily cases for the first time since the winter, the 3,091 cases are the fewest reported in a week.
Over the last 21 days the state is averaging 3,399 cases a day, according to ODH. In the last seven days the average is 4,460.
Policies vary per public school system and private schools and school officials from each recommend school families check district and school building websites – and be on watch for any announcements - for the latest on mask and quarantining policies for students.