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Mason, Lakota, Middletown School Districts Change Course, Now Mandating Masks

medical mask
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Despite not requiring masks before the start of the school year, multiple districts in the region will implement policies to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mason City Schools will require students from Pre-K through Sixth Grade to wear masks starting Tuesday. In a video message addressing the district, Superintendent Jonathan Cooper says when a student gets sick and everyone is wearing their masks, they no longer need to quarantine according to health guidance from the state.

"One thing we can all agree on is no one wants to wear a mask," Cooper said. "I mean, that's not something anyone loves to do. But we know it's important to keep our kids in school."

Despite those measures, 7-12 graders won't be required to wear masks. Cooper says they will continue to monitor the data that could signal if they need to change course.

"If the data would start to show that we have lots of quarantines and it begins to disrupt our educational programming, then we may move that direction as well because we want to keep our kids in school," Cooper said.

All staff members are required to wear masks if they are within six feet of a student. Masks will also be required for school visitors.

When Mason originally elected not to require masks within the district, a group of 103 area physicians sent a letter urging the district to reverse the decision.

You can view the Superintendent's Message below:

Butler County School Districts Requiring Masks

All students and staff members within Lakota Local Schools will have to wear masks going forward. The district is citing the advice of medical experts, the increase of COVID-19 cases among children in Butler County, and stringent in-school quarantine protocols.

A survey asking students and parents about mask requirements had divided results. Out of more than 6,800 responses:

  • 49% believe that face coverings should be optional for all grades;
  • 48% believe that face coverings should be required for all or some grades:
  • 33% believe that face coverings should be required for all grades;
  • 15% believe that face coverings should be required for grades K-6 and optional for grades 7-12; and 
  • 3% are unsure.

Staff survey results were similar. With over 900 staff members responding:

  • 52% believe that face coverings should be optional for all grades;
  • 42% believe that face coverings should be required for all or some grades:
  • 24% believe that face coverings should be required for all grades;
  • 18% believe that face coverings should be required for grades K-6 and optional for grades 7-12; and 
  • 6% are unsure.

Middletown City Schools is also implementing similar requirements which go into effect Wednesday.

All students and staff will be required to wear masks inside buildings and on school buses. High risk exposed individuals will not need to quarantine.

Each school will continue to have a designated quarantine area. Students who become sick during the school day or arrive at school sick will be assessed by the school nurse. Pending symptoms, students may be required to quarantine.

Masks will be required indoors at Cincinnati Public Schools, but not outdoors. The Sycamore Community School Board of Education agreed to allow the district superintendent to set a mask policy for each school. Oak Hills Local Schools will recommend, but not require, masking, as will Warren County Schools.