Olentangy School District sticks with masks optional, strongly recommended for back to school

Lewis Center

LEWIS CENTER, Ohio (WCMH)–Olentangy Local School District is staying the course when it comes to their back-to-school plan with masks optional but strongly recommended.

Delaware Public Health District announced Thursday on social media it is currently advising people who are vaccinated or not, to mask up in public places or crowded settings.

There were several different subjects brought to the Olentangy Board of Education’s attention during public comment Thursday. One was a request for the board to re-consider the masking policy.

“I just couldn’t not speak up,” said Kelly Livingston.

Kelly Livingston attended the meeting hoping for a change in mask policy.

“I think it’s a great option there are people who have personal reasons that they don’t want masks on their children,” said Michele DeShazo.

She and others wanted to keep the current policy, which is masks optional but strongly recommended, in place.

Delaware Public Health District put out a letter Thursday issuing a mask advisory in place now, that the county moved to high spread on the CDC’s COVID-19map.

“I believe there should be other people making some of those decision regarding public health and safety — of our school districts across the board the opinions are so varying it’s just hard to get a hand on it,” said Superintendent Mark Raiff during the meeting. “I think the approach we’re taking is the approach we’ve taken all throughout the pandemic.”

Superintendent Raiff shared the number of cases in the district recorded by DPHD saying the numbers are promising.

“We currently have five elementary school students that are reported, one middle school student, seven high school students, and two Olentangy staff since June 1.”

He added three cases the age was unknown but under 18.

Livingston said she hopes for a compromise. She worries for children 12 and younger who aren’t eligible for the vaccine.

“I felt like if there would be any like real wiggle room there may be some wiggle room with a subset if maybe not all because other districts such as like Westerville, I think Hilliard and maybe Dublin had also done similar.”

DeShazo wants to see back to school on August 19th be a little more normal.

“Hopefully, we’ll be back to school with no restrictions and no lockdowns and all that — get back to normal if we can,” she said.

Superintendent Raiff said the district will continue with increased sanitizing, handwashing, and social distancing.

The board is also encouraging people to be flexible with plans for schools. It also urged the community to get vaccinated.

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