WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, Ohio (WCMH) – As schools start the new year, they’re still making adjustments because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some are dealing with staffing shortages leading to remote learning, and some are once again making decisions about masks in school.
Masks have been required in schools in Washington Court House all year, but that requirement was set to end in a few weeks.
Given the current situation with the virus in Ohio, however, the district has decided to keep the mask requirement in place.
Like many parents, Logan Hackworth knows what it’s like sending students to school during the pandemic. He has three children in Washington Court House City Schools.
“They’re doing great, they’re loving it,” Hackworth said. “They were actually excited to get back to school, which is surprising.”
They just went back to school Wednesday after winter break. It’s the same day they found out the district is keeping the school mask requirement in place.
“It’s not a perfect scenario but I think, just like the rest of the world, we’re doing the best we can,” Hackworth said.
He said he would have been OK if the district dropped the requirement, and is also OK with it staying in place.
Originally, the mask mandate was set to expire in two weeks, but with COVID-19 numbers rising in Fayette County and across the state, Washington Court House schools announced it was staying in place.
“It just seems like now is not a good time to shift gears,” said Dr. Tom Bailey, Washington Court House City Schools superintendent. “We’ve been masked all year. As it’s getting worse, why would we leave masks?”
Bailey said a recent letter from hospitals around the state urging schools to require masks was one of the reasons for keeping the mandate.
“I take that to heart,” Bailey said. “I know it’s not a popular opinion with everyone to stay in the masks and I totally get that. I wish we could be out of masks. My own children go to school here, but we need to keep everybody safe and this is the best way to do it.”
While there is no timeline as to how long the mask mandate will stay, district officials said they are evaluating the situation on a daily basis.