Summit County Public Health Commissioner Warns of COVID-19 Outbreaks if Schools Drop Mask Requirements
As schools review their COVID-19 protocols for next year, Summit County’s public health commissioner is voicing concerns about new outbreaks of the virus if districts drop mask requirements.
Donna Skoda says masks continue to be the best way to keep unvaccinated populations safe, particularly children under the age of 12 who can’t yet get the vaccine. She worries about the safety of these students if masks are no longer required in their school.
“A parent is going to have to talk to their child: ‘It’s important that you wear a mask until you get vaccinated.’”
Without teachers and other school officials enforcing mask wearing, Skoda worries there will be classroom outbreaks, something she says didn’t happen a lot last school year thanks to masks and social distancing.
"Last year, we did not see a lot of classroom spread, and it’s because the schools, teachers were enforcing all of the masking. You had to wear a mask. You had to stay away from each other. You had to sit three to six feet apart. It made a huge difference.”
Skoda urges parents of unvaccinated students to talk to them about the importance of wearing a mask in school. She hopes that children who contract COVID-19 have mild symptoms but is more concerned with unvaccinated students bringing the virus home to immunocompromised family members.