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With 259 Students In Quarantine, Lebanon City Schools To Revisit Mask Policy

Tyson Thorp

More than 200 students had to quarantine during the first week at Lebanon City Schools. On Wednesday, a special board meeting will look at COVID-19 data and discuss the district's mask policy. Currently, masks are recommended but not required in the district.

The Board of Education wants to make decisions on mask policies based on what's happening within Warren County, according to Superintendent Isaac Seevers. Wednesday's meeting will compare current COVID-19 activity within the district to data from last school year.

"Last year, we could not accurately track because either it didn't exist or it was just harder to find that there was community spread happening inside of our buildings," Seevers said. "This year, we're able to connect some dots where we're seeing spread inside of our buildings."

Lebanon parents are divided on whether or not students should wear masks. A survey sent out by the district found that 20% of respondents preferred to keep it optional or not wear one at all, while 16% supported a universal mask mandate. However, 55% of survey recipients didn't respond.

"There's a very split discussion in our community around this topic," Seevers said. "Whether it should be a choice that parents have the right to choose for their students on wearing a mask or not and the position our district took at the leadership level was that this is a choice that the parents can choose for their kids."

The board's policy on face coverings says mandates or requirements from the county's health department or the Department of Education will be implemented if given. The district has also created "masked classrooms" for grades K-6 for parents who prefer that option.

The meeting will take place at the Lebanon City Schools Board Offices at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Last week, 20 cases were reported among students within school buildings and at least 259 students had to quarantine. Water fountains have also been turned off to prevent viral spread.

More than 55% of Warren County's population has been vaccinated for COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 26,000 cases have been reported in the county.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.