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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

School Board in Southwest Ohio District Votes Students and Staff Can Quit Wearing Masks

a sign noting the community of Blanchester, Ohio
Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Blanchester is located about 40 miles northeast of Cincinnati.

The Board of Education for a southwest Ohio school district has voted to defy the state’s mask mandate. 

Blanchester Public Schools is located in rural Clinton County. The school board there has voted that its students and staff can immediately go without masks when they are outdoors or on buses, as long as the windows are opened a little bit.

On June 1st, they’ll become the first Ohio district to decide that students and staff can quit wearing masks indoors. Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro says this seems illegal. And he says he's puzzled as to why the school board would want to shed masks right now anyway.

Scott DiMauro, president, Ohio Education Association
Jo Ingles
Scott DiMauro, president, Ohio Education Association


“This is a decision that is putting students, in particular, at unnecessary risk. It is very clear that the mask mandate has been very effective in curbing the spread of COVID," DiMauro says.

It’s unclear what the state can or will do in response to the decision.  

Many teachers were vaccinated against COVID earlier this year. But many students are not. Currently, only Ohioans 16 years and over can get the vaccine. But that could change.

Pfizer reports the FDA could authorize students 12 years old and older to get the vaccine in the coming days.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.