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Coronavirus

Ohio Health Officials Recommend Masks In Schools This Fall

Fifth graders wear face masks are seated at proper social distancing spacing during a music class at the Milton Elementary School in Rye, N.Y. in this May 18, 2021 file photo.
Mary Altaffer
/
AP
Fifth graders wear face masks are seated at proper social distancing spacing during a music class at the Milton Elementary School in Rye, N.Y. in this May 18, 2021 file photo.

Citing a sharp spike in cases linked to the delta coronavirus variant, the Ohio Department of Health is issuing new guidance that recommends unvaccinated staff and students wear masks when classes resume for the fall term.

The department’s medical director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said the recommendation is not a requirement.

“While there are not mandates associated with this guidance, we believe the recommendations we are issuing are essential to the health of Ohio’s youth and the success of the coming school year,” he said in a Monday morning virtual press conference.

Vanderhoff said the new guidance would be posted on the Department of Health website no later than Tuesday.

Last week Columbus City School leaders announced plans to have students and staff start the new school year wearing masks. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District announced a similar plan last week.

A bill from State Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware County) would ban Ohio schools from requiring masks. It has yet to have a hearing.

Last week Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill banning public schools and colleges from requiring students and staff to be vaccinated. The bill does not take effect until October, so some schools are requiring vaccines before the fall term begins. The new law also only applies to vaccines not granted full use by the Food and Drug Administration.