Whaley: DeWine should order mask mandate in schools

With the number of new COVID cases in Ohio still above 5,000-per-day, Dayton Mayor and Democratic candidate for Governor Nan Whaley is calling on Gov. Mike DeWine to institute a mask mandate in schools.

In a statewide event on-line, Whaley said even though the Ohio General Assembly has passed a law that allows them to reject any mandates that they do not agree with, DeWine should issue one anyway and fight to defend it in the Ohio Supreme Court.

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“There’s this thing called leadership that Mike DeWine is not going forward on,” Whaley said.

Whaley was joined by several women around the state who have first-hand experience with the lack of masking in schools.

Tiffany Snyder, Lexington, Ohio, said she sent her daughter to school this year with a mask, but many other children were not masked because her local school board did not require it.

Snyder’s daughter got COVID and had to quarantine at home.

“COVID is raging through my community. It’s raging through my school. The cases are up. The death rate is up. Children’s hospitalizations are up, you all know this,” Snyder said.

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New data from the Ohio Department of Health put the number of COVID cases in the last 24 hours at 5,568 and the 21-day average was at 5,735. On September 8, ODH reported 457 hospitalizations statewide. On Monday it fell to 232.

DeWine said recently that there is no appetite in Ohio for additional mandates from the state. Whaley said DeWine’s position is motivated by politics more than science. 

“Right now, it’s very clear that he’s listening to politics and the next primary vote race,” Whaley said.

Even though ODH has not issued any mask mandates, it has not stopped several cities around the state from issuing their own mask orders for adults who are in public areas indoors like retail shops.

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The city of Columbus issued its order late last week. although a compliance check by this reporter over the weekend found only 50% of the shoppers at a big box store were wearing a mask, despite a sign on the front entrance.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that the cities of Yellow Springs, Athens, Gambier, Bexley and Whitehall also issued mask orders.