GISA announced it will require masks for all students, staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status.
“The number of students being quarantined continues to rise and we now have evidence of spread in the school. This is unsustainable if we are to continue in-person learning,” said Founding Director Joshua Jennings.
The universal masking requirement started Tuesday. According to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are seven confirmed and 50 quarantined cases reported.
Northeastern and GISA follow quarantine guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health and Clark County Combined Health District. Under the guidelines, if someone is exposed and they are vaccinated or if they are unvaccinated but wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate social distancing, they can remain in class and participate in activities and sports as long as they are symptom free.
These guidelines are only possible if there is masking for students and staff, regardless of vaccination status; strategies to maximize physical distancing of at least three feet; and documented COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures are in place.
“Based upon these guidelines, universal masking will drastically reduce the number of students that will have to miss school due to quarantining,” Jennings said.
Springfield City Schools is the only other local district to require masks for students. Clark-Shawnee also implemented a temporary masking requirement through Sept. 17 and closed schools for two days last week.
Springfield reported the highest number of positive cases and Clark-Shawnee reported the highest quarantined cases for last week.
“We continue to work closely with all the local schools to provide the safest in-person learning environment possible for all students,” said Nate Smith, Communications Coordinator for the Clark County Combined Health District. “The issue of masks in schools is being decided on a district-by-district basis and we are working with superintendents and school boards to assess each specific situation.”
The Champaign Health District is also leaving it to districts on masks decisions.
“At this point we are not requiring it of our schools. That would be in consultation with the superintendents as well as the state. Right now we are asking all parents and guardians, if possible, to have their children go to school with a mask to reduce spread,” said Health Commissioner Gabe Jones.
Clark County had 16,397 coronavirus cases and 319 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Champaign County had 4,032 cases and 61 deaths.
As of Wednesday, 63,113 vaccination shots have been given in Clark County, according to ODH. Just over 47% of the county’s total population has received at least one shot and almost 45% have been fully vaccinated. In Champaign County, 15,297 vaccination shots have been given. Almost 40% of the county’s total population has received at least one shot and just over 36% has been fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 cases, quarantines in schools in Clark and Champaign counties
Clark-Shawnee: 48 positive, 335 quarantined
Mechanicsburg: 13 positive
Northeastern: 34 positive, 241 quarantined
Southeastern: 10 positive, 48 quarantined
Springfield: 73 positive, 39 quarantined
Tecumseh: 34 positive, 68 quarantined
Triad: 1 positive
Souce: Clark and Champaign counties’ school dashboard as of Aug. 30.