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Central Ohio school districts await state guidance on masks

Columbus City Schools have said they will not require masks in the classroom, but other school districts said they are waiting on guidance from the state.

Central Ohio school districts are waiting on guidance from the state when it comes to requiring masks in the classroom for the upcoming school year.

Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine said the state was going to give some "strong guidance" to schools shortly.

Some districts like Columbus City Schools are not requiring masks at the moment.

Other school districts like Lancaster City Schools and Dublin City Schools said they are waiting to see what the state has to say. Whitehall City Schools said masks are a parent decision and will not be required in an education setting.

Columbus Public Health Commissioner Mysheika Roberts said her recommendation hasn't changed since last year when it comes to wearing a mask in the classroom.

“People should be masked when they are in the classroom, and that message has been shared with our school districts,” Roberts said.

Shared, but not mandated.

“This school year is going to be a little different because all of those state orders are gone,” Roberts said.

Because those under the age of 12 are not eligible to get the vaccine, Dr. Roberts said to protect the most vulnerable, masks in schools make it safe for everyone.

“We know that these masks are effective. I know many schools have made the decision they are not going to have kids wear masks, but masks are an effective way to prevent the virus,” she said.

Confusion over masks ramped up this week when the American Academy of Pediatrics said masks should be worn in the classroom, which was different from what the CDC said a few weeks ago which said only those who are vaccinated don’t need to wear masks.

A bill introduced last week at the Ohio Statehouse would ban Ohio’s public schools and colleges from mandating masks for students and faculty. Senate Bill 209, introduced by state Sen. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, would block any district or board from requiring masks on school grounds.

You can read the legislation here.