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Central Ohio parents prepare kids for school as state lays out guidelines when class resumes

While one Columbus parent had her 12 and 15-year-old children vaccinated against COVID, another parent said her kids will be masked up when they go back to class.

Two central Ohio mothers are preparing for children for a new school year. One of the differences heading into this year compared to last is there is now a vaccine available to fight COVID-19.

“Honestly, I was a little leery about the vaccine, but I’m more afraid for them to get sick with the disease,” Sakeya Stubbs said.

Stubbs is nervous. Her two children, ages 12 and 15, who both attend Columbus City Schools, received their COVID-19 vaccine Monday at a vaccination clinic at the Linden Community Center.

She decided it was time to get her children vaccinated ahead of the new school year.

“But because I do have to send them back, I don’t know who else will be vaccinated and my son plays sports,” Stubbs said. “I felt the best thing to do as a parent was to go ahead and get them vaccinated.”

Also on Monday, the Ohio Department of Health recommended students and staff who are not fully vaccinated from COVID-19 wear a mask when classes resume this fall.

Chief Medical Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff laid out new COVID-19 guidance that focuses on three key factors:

  • Strongly recommend vaccinations for all eligible students and staff 
  • Strongly recommend those who are unvaccinated consistently wear masks 
  • Strongly encourage hand washing, social distancing and other safety measures to prevent virus spread

While Stubbs decided to get her two children vaccinated, another mother said her two children will be wearing masks as they start kindergarten and fifth grade.

LaiMari Spence said nothing gives her pause about sending her two kids back to school. She just hopes they will be able to keep their masks on.

Right now, only the Pfizer vaccine is available to children 12 years and older.

Even though it’s not mandated, Vanderhoff said parents can still make the decision to have their child wear a mask in school.

Health officials also recommended students and staff practice social distancing of three to six feet when necessary.

Columbus City Schools announced last week that all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, will have to wear a mask when they return this fall.

Other school districts have said they were awaiting guidance from the state before they made any announcement.

The guidance from ODH comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Ohio. On Monday, the state reported 543 cases which is up from the 21-day average of 483.


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