Northwestern schools requires masks for elementary students

Northwestern Local School District is requiring masks for all elementary school students.

Effective today, the district is requiring masks for all students in grades preschool through sixth, staff and visitors in the building and on bus regardless of vaccination status.

“The decision to go to universal masking at the elementary school is based on two factors. Currently, our quarantine numbers are extremely high and continue to grow. Additionally, we have several students who are now coming positive and we think they may have been exposed at school and became infected,” said Superintendent Jesse Steiner.

According to the school district’s COVID-19 dashboard, the school reported 10 positive and 102 quarantined cases. This includes eight positive and 90 quarantine at the elementary school.

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The quarantine guidelines the district follows are those given by the Ohio Department of Health and Clark County Combined Health District.

“The guidelines from the health department state that any student or staff member who is exposed to a COVID positive person must quarantine unless they are vaccinated or both the COVID positive person and the exposed person are wearing a mask. They must also be at least three feet away,” he said.

Steiner said he hopes to be back to voluntary masking by Oct. 15, but will continue to monitor the positive and quarantine numbers to determine the next steps.

“We are hoping that we do not have to keep universal masking at the elementary school in place for the entire year. We are hoping that we can go back to voluntary masking at the end of the first quarter, which is Oct. 15,” he said.

Springfield City Schools, Northeastern and Global Impact STEM Academy are the other local schools to require masks. Clark-Shawnee and Tecumseh Local Schools are requiring masks through Oct. 1, and Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools has short-term masking in place for certain classes.

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