Re-thinking mask mandates at school

At least one Miami Valley school district that started the year with a mask mandate is ready to remove it. Clark-Shawnee in Clark County will switch from a mandate to a recommendation next Monday.

In an interview with WHIO-TV, Superintendent Brian Kuhn said current precautions have worked well.

“At this moment we have 15 students in quarantine, district-wide, out of 17-hundred students and none of them were because of close contact with someone in school,” Kuhn said.

>> New Springfield art exhibit displays personal struggles from 2020

Details on the district’s plan for the change are posted on their website.

The administration’s message reads in-part, “We have seen a decrease in quarantines and positive cases since we returned from the Labor Day holiday with a masking requirement in place.

In addition, local health officials are optimistic that we are beginning to see the signs of a downward trend in cases and hospitalizations in Clark County.”

Kuhn said they have a plan in place for increased monitoring beginning Monday.

“We will be closely monitoring our quarantine data, our dashboard, then if we have more than 100 students in quarantine, I have been authorized by our board of education to implement a two-week temporary mask requirement, tamping that down to slow the need for quarantine,” Kuhn said.

>> Fall colors: When to expect peak season across Miami Valley parks

The next anticipated development in the COVID-precaution landscape will be the approval of the coronavirus vaccines for students aged 5-11. 

Then, and only then, will some districts even consider eliminating the mask requirement in their district. Yellow Springs Superintendent Terri Holden said their district might consider changes if FDA approval comes through for the younger students to get the vaccine.

“After that, then it might warrant some discussions with the board on health guidance, but I cannot see our mask mandate change in the very near future,” Holden said.