COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two central Ohio school districts announced Monday that they will require masks for students and employees for the upcoming school year.
The Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District is requiring students from kindergarten through eighth grade to wear a mask when inside school buildings.
Meanwhile, Westerville City School District is requiring masks for all students, staff, and people entering a school facility. While outside, masks won’t be required as long as proper social distancing can be maintained.
In a letter sent to parents Monday, Gahanna-Jefferson Superintendent Steve Barrett said the mask requirement includes teachers and staff as well. Visitors will also be required to wear masks while inside school buildings.
Barrett said the mask requirement is being put in place because students ages 12 and up can be vaccinated against COVID-19 while the younger students cannot.
The district “strongly” recommends students, teachers, and staff in grades ninth through 12th wear masks, but they are not required.
“We learned a lot in the last year, and every decision we consider starts with one simple question: What must we do to keep students in school five days a week, without interruption, for the entirety of the 2021-22 school year?” Barrett wrote in the letter.
In Westerville, plexiglass barriers will not be used, but will be available should the need arise for them in the future.
The district is also encouraging students 12 and older who have not received a COVID-19 vaccination to do so.
Masks are mandated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on all school transportation for all grades in both school districts.
Both districts will begin the school year on Aug. 12.