HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) — Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 7, Hilliard City Schools will require all students, staff, and visitors to wear facemasks when inside school buildings.

Superintendent David Stewart made the announcement in a message to parents on Thursday.

In it, Stewart explains that the first mask policy — requiring only PreK-6 students to wear masks — was implemented on August 10 when the district’s COVID-19 numbers were approximately 100 cases per 100,000 people. Today, the case numbers were at 467 cases per 100,000, which influenced the decision.

“Additionally, we have seen an increase of positive cases in our schools, including in grades 7-12 where we don’t currently require facemasks,” Stewart wrote.

He said the goal is to keep students in school five days a week.

“We know that the use of masks is an emotional topic that gets a wide spectrum of responses, and we would not have taken this step without the belief that it was absolutely necessary,” Stewart wrote.