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DeWine: Ohio health order will require all K-12 students to wear a mask at school

The governor says Ohio is working with FEMA to distribute 2 million masks to schools across the state.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says that the state will issue an order requiring all K-12 students to wear face coverings this fall.

"This gives us the best shot to keep Ohio's kids and educators safe and physically in school," DeWine said in his coronavirus press briefing Tuesday announcing the health department's order.

The order, DeWine says, will reflect the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and the Ohio American Academy of Pediatric's recommendations on students wearing masks in the classroom. 

The governor says Ohio is working with FEMA to distribute 2 million masks to schools across the state.

"Schools and parents continue to work to make decisions on how to safely go back to school. I know there is frustration by the uncertainty. We cannot know what the next three weeks will bring, let alone the next three months, six months, or 9 months of school," DeWine said.

Exemptions for the mask requirement include:

  • Children under the age of 2
  • Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance
  • A child with a significant behavioral/psychological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated specifically by the use of a facial covering
  • A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask
  • A child with a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction

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