Washington Local Schools reinstates mask mandate for students, staff
TOLEDO, Ohio — Friday night, Washington Local Schools announced it would be reinstating its mask mandate for students and staff, beginning today. The district had set a COVID case threshold of 45 for when universal masking would return, and Friday, that threshold was reached. District officials, including Superintendent Kadee Anstadt, say they want to protect students as the holiday season quickly approaches.
“It’s a little bit like deja vu all over again,” said Anstadt. “One of the things that we did when we decided to try the governor’s idea, was to set a threshold. Just in case our cases rose suddenly, we wanted to be able to say that in a certain building or overall in the district, if we saw our cases rising, that we would go back to masks. And on Friday, we hit that threshold and we usually pick up a few more cases over the weekend.”
The idea of Governor DeWine’s that Anstadt’s referring to is the Ohio Department of Health’s “Test to Play’’/”Mask to Stay’’ quarantine recommendations, which allow students to remain in school, even if exposed to COVID-19, as long as they’re masked for 14 days, self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, and isolate and get tested if they start to experience symptoms associated with COVID-19. As you just heard, those recommendations didn’t completely prevent additional COVID-19 cases from popping up in the district.
Anstadt acknowledges that students want to be involved, whether that’s in sports or clubs, but she says the only way of ensuring the involvement of students is getting them vaccinated, which will be a process. The superintendent says she is looking at some incentives to promote the vaccine and looks forward to the winter sports season, now that a vaccine is available.
“Honestly, once we get back inside we know this is going to be a little tougher battle. So, we really want to get through our seasons; we’re looking forward to really big student crowds at our games this year,” she said.
If you’re looking to vaccinate your child, multiple vaccine clinics will be held this week, catering to students attending various school districts. But the simplest way remains visiting the state of Ohio’s official vaccination website, gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.