DeWine to Expand Mask Mandate to K-12 Students


Governor Mike Dewine announced Thursday that the Ohio Department of Health will soon release a new order mandating K12 students to wear masks as they return to school.

This announcement came after the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association (OCHA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics Ohio Chapter (AAPOC) issued a letter showing support for “face coverings/masks in our hospitals, schools, and communities.”

The letter noted a number of exceptions to the recommendation. These include:

1. Children under the age of 2 years
2. Any child unable to remove the face covering without assistance
3. A child with a significant behavioral/psychological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated specifically by the use of a facial covering (e.g. severe anxiety or a tactile aversion)
4. A child living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated or anxious wearing a mask
5. A child with a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction

The letter also said that “beyond these categories, there are no diagnoses that warrant blanket exemptions from wearing a face-covering/mask. Specifically, asthma, allergies, and sinus infections are not a contraindication for using a face-covering/mask.”

DeWine said in his press release that “without a vaccine, we are limited in the ways that we can protect the people of Ohio,” and that “for schools to have a fighting chance to stay open this fall, widespread face coverings for K-12 students will increase the odds that kids will go to school and stay in school.”

Currently, it is unknown whether the coming order will follow the guidelines put forth by the AAPOC and OCHA, but adopting any of these guidelines would expand on the existing mask mandate.

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Ben Kolodny is a reporter at The Ohio Star and the Star News Network. Follow Ben on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].






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