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Olentangy Schools to require masks for students, staff at elementary, middle schools

Masks will continue to be strongly recommended for high school students and staff.
Credit: AP
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Olentangy Local School District announced masks will be required for at least the first nine weeks of the school year for all students, staff and visitors in preschools, elementary and middle schools beginning Aug. 23.

The update to the policy was posted online in a statement from Superintendent Mark Raiff on Friday.

“This decision comes after I have closely monitored the number of individuals who have chosen to follow our masking recommendations this week and reviewed publicly available data trends impacting other public school districts in Ohio, including Olentangy Schools,” he said. “The Board of Education is aware of these trends and my concerns about preserving the continuity of education.”

Raiff said it is his goal to keep as many students and staff in the classroom as possible and out of quarantine.

"Based on the observations of our individual building administrators, I am increasingly concerned that students and staff are at risk of being quarantined, and missing class," he said.

Raiff adds that masks will continue to be strongly recommended for staff, students and visitors in high schools.

RELATED: Here are the mask policies and other COVID protocols for central Ohio school districts