CLINTON COUNTY — As the new school year approaches, students and staff still need to take precautions.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates in its guides for K-12 schools that masks “should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated,” according to its website (cdc.gov). They also highlight “consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.”
They also recommend schools maintain a three-feet physical distance instead of six between students within classrooms, along with not fully vaccinated individuals wearing masks to reduce risks.
“When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as indoor masking,” the website says.
They also say wearing a mask indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission can help maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent spreading.
At a recent school board meeting, Wilmington City Schools Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart advised school staff would “help to encourage and support students who choose to wear a mask.”
She advised masks at some point could be required for all staff and students while indoors if the level of virus transmission in the school or community is elevated.
Blanchester Local Schools board member Jeremy Kaehler indicated in the “Blanchester School Board CommuniCATor” Facebook group they will maintain a policy enacted in June.
The policy states, “at no time may the superintendent, administrators, staff, volunteers or parents enforce or prohibit the use of a face-covering for any student and/or employee in the district, at activities under the control of the district and on district-provided transportation.”
Matt Baker, superintendent of Clinton-Massie Local Schools, hopes everyone in his district understands that they’re trying to both do what’s best with safety but also help try to return things to normal.
“I’m working with the Warren County superintendents group and then our Clinton County [superintendents] group to stay on pace with the changes,” said Baker.
The only mandate they have right now is with public transportation.
“Students and staff will be expected to wear masks on the bus to sporting events and other school events,” said Baker. “As for the classrooms, it’s [mask wearing] strongly recommended … but we won’t force someone to wear or not wear one.”
East Clinton’s late June “Safe Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plan” states: “As we proceed into the 2021‐2022 school year, East Clinton is committed to remaining open and in‐person at all times, in cooperation with the Clinton County Health Department, and in accordance with any laws and guidance set forth by the State of Ohio or the Ohio Department of Education.”
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.