PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — Pickerington Schools announced Monday it is changing its mask policy come the new year.

Starting Jan. 4, 2022, masks will be optional for all students.

“Now that COVID-19 vaccinations are readily available for students in grades K-6, Pickerington Schools will make masks optional for all K-12 students beginning January 4, 2022,” the district posted to its website.

The district is encouraging parents to vaccinate all students now that the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all school-aged children.

This January 4 date was carefully selected to allow time over the upcoming Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks for parents to get their school-aged children vaccinated if desired,” the district posted. “Please know that any student always has the option to wear a mask inside any of our PLSD buildings.”

The district said those who are unvaccinated are encouraged to wear masks and that the district’s quarantine protocols will remain the same for vaccinated and unvaccinated students and staff.