COLUMBUS, Ohio —
Governor Mike DeWine has not yet clarified whether he is in favor of wearing masks inside schools or not, but he did say there will be new guidance given to Ohio school districts "probably” on Monday.
10TV Reporter Kevin Landers spoke exclusively with the governor at the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday in an effort to get some clarification on when that guidance would come.
DeWine said he believes, with the right tools in place, schools in the state will be able to keep kids safe. The governor also said he is hoping the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will have vaccines available to kids under 12 sometime this fall.
DeWine's concern is for kids, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, mixing together and possibly carrying the delta variant of COVID-19.
“If you look at the number of people who since January have gone into the hospital, 99% of those who went to the hospital were not [vaccinated],” DeWine said.
DeWine did not give specifics on the guidance he plans to announce but said vaccination rates in some counties are as low as 25%.
In the meantime, DeWine wants people to know that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool to fight the rising spread of the virus. As of July 25, the state is just shy of having 50% of Ohioans being fully vaccinated.
"Even more concerning is that we have some counties at 25%, 30%, 35% and we have the delta variant now and it is much more contagious than anything we've seen before,” DeWine said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidance, recommending anyone over the age of two wear masks and potentially requiring COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine proof.
Columbus City Schools announced Thursday that masks will be required when students and staff return to in-person learning this fall.