COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus City School district is lifting its mask mandate, the district announced Thursday.
Beginning Tuesday, March 8, facemasks in school buildings and buses will be optional, following updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, according to a news release from Columbus City Schools.
“We continue to rely on the guidance of our local public health experts to make the best decisions for our district,” Columbus City Schools Superintendent and CEO Talisa Dixon said. “With cases declining and the City rescinding its universal mask mandate, we will make masks optional in our buildings and on our school buses beginning Tuesday, March 8.”
According to the district, the Columbus City Council is expected to end the city’s mask mandate in indoor public spaces on Monday, March 7.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is also expected to remove a September executive order requiring people ages six and up to wear masks in all public indoor spaces, the district said.
Despite the announcement, Columbus City Schools medical consultant and pediatrician Dr. Sara Bode said “we are still amid a pandemic,” and the district said it will continue to follow isolation guidelines for students and staff who test positive for COVID-19.
Those who test positive are required to isolate for five days and may return on the sixth day if symptoms are improving. After returning from isolation, they must wear a mask for an additional five days, the district said.
“I did not take this decision lightly,” Dixon said. “Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been the health and safety of our students and staff. We will continue to follow our many other mitigation strategies and health protocols while allowing our families and staff to make the best choice for themselves when it comes to masking.”