State lawmakers propose non-masking bill in state legislature

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Schools in the Miami Valley and around the state are facing a potential mandate from the state which could mean they will not be allowed to require students to wear a mask in the classroom.

Masking was used last year to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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The proposal that was introduced on Monday tells school districts that they cannot mandate students to wear a mask in the classroom. Traditionally, the decision would be left to individual school districts, but state lawmakers may step in with this new rule.

The bill on masking comes from State Sen. Andrew Brenner of Delaware, and it says school districts cannot develop their own mask guidelines and must follow a proposed state rule that would prohibit mandatory masking of students.

News Center 7′s Jim Otte talked about this proposal with Shannon Cox who is Superintendent of the Montgomery County Education Service Center. She works with all of the districts in Montgomery County, and she said they are read to follow whatever guidelines the state puts out.

“We’re prepared to make decisions on an on-going basis but at this point in time, no one in Montgomery County is looking at a full-fledge mask mandate K-12 across the board,” Cox said.

The no-mandatory mask proposal also applies to public colleges and universities, although it would not apply to any university medical facilities.

The one place where kids will have to wear masks is on the school bus, that’s not a mandate from Gov. Mike DeWine, it comes directly from the federal government and the CDC.