Editorial: School districts need to decide

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is doing the right thing in declaring that, for now, he will not be issuing a mask mandate for schools. (Surely his office is closely monitoring the delta variant and is willing to pivot, if another state of emergency arises). But even though DeWine understands an edict from Columbus is not warranted, he urged parents to get vaccinated, get their kids who are old enough vaccinated, and for those who are not vaccinated to wear masks.

In discussing the matter Monday, DeWine said something that makes clear he understands what a few lawmakers still haven’t figured out. We have reached the point where the decision should be made by school districts and parents.

“Let me be quite candid,” DeWine said. “I do not believe that I have the authority today to mandate that.”

He went on to say “what I do have the ability to do and what the health department has the ability to do is to tell what the facts are.”

Those facts may indeed lead some local school districts to put in place their own mask mandates. As DeWine pointed out “if you want your child to play sports, not being vaccinated and not wearing a mask in school is a recipe for that not to happen or for that to certainly potentially be interrupted.”

In fact, the Ohio Department of Health has issued guidance for schools, “strongly recommending” masks for unvaccinated students and staff members. Meanwhile, updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance urges those in certain parts of the country to resume wearing masks. Vaccine hesitancy and the delta variant have made our emergence from the pandemic less certain.

School districts and parents, it is up to you, then, to do the right thing for your kids, as it should be.

Now. Do the right thing.

— Marietta Times, July 30