COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus City Schools announced on Thursday masks will be optional inside buildings and buses for students, staff and visitors starting next week.
According to a release by school officials Thursday, the district’s mask mandate will be lifted starting March 8.
Columbus is one of the last schools to remove its mask requirement. Other school districts like Hilliard, Reynoldsburg, Worthington and others made the change within the last month.
The announcement comes after Columbus Public Health recommended lifting the city's mask mandate to align with recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The guidance recommends that most healthy Americans, including school children, no longer need to wear a mask. Masks are also no longer required on school buses, but districts are still allowed impose a requirement.
In the release, CCS announced that it will continue to follow the CDC’s isolation guidelines for COVID-19.
Students and staff members who test positive will isolate for five days and can return to the buildings by wearing a mask for an additional five days if symptoms approve.
If a person is not able to wear a mask, they must isolate for 10 days.
The school district encourages anyone who has not been vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 if they are eligible to do so as soon as possible
Superintendent and CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon expressed that the decision to lift the mask mandate was not taken lightly. She added:
“Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been the health and safety of our students and staff. We will continue to follow our many other mitigation strategies and health protocols while allowing our families and staff to make the best choice for themselves when it comes to masking. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and consult with our health experts to determine if we need to reinstate a mask mandate in the future.”
You can read the district's full statement here.
Mayor Andrew Ginther tweeted in support of the district’s decision for lifting its mask mandate.
“We have come a long way in fighting COVID-19, and I am proud of CCS for making difficult decisions in the best interest for our children along the way,” he said.
Columbus City Council is expected to lift the city’s mask mandate for indoor public spaces on Monday. Ginther is also expected to rescind the executive order that was placed in September 2021.