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Ohio's top doc warns schools not to drop COVID mask requirements too early

Masked students sit in a classroom at Worthington Kilbourne High School near Columbus in March 2021.
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Masked students sit in a classroom at Worthington Kilbourne High School near Columbus in March 2021. Following the decisions of some school districts throughout the state to drop mask mandates, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff of the Ohio Department of Health warns against not wearing masks in schools as the rate of COVID transmission is still high.

Now that all K-12 students can get vaccines, and the state’s COVID positive rate has gone down a bit from last month, some schools are changing their mask policies. But state health leaders are urging them not to do that yet.

In the past week nearly 40 school districts, including Lancaster, Perrysburg, Bucyrus, and Nordonia Hills, have dropped their requirements that students wear masks indoors. But Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, health director at the Ohio Department of Health, says the COVID rate is still high.

“It’s still incredibly important for schools, parents, and schools, therefore, to think about the importance of masking because the vaccinated children will not be protected for some weeks to come,” he said.

Vanderhoff explains the pediatric version of the Pfizer vaccine requires two shots. The second shot is given three weeks after the first. And it takes another two weeks after that to be considered fully vaccinated.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.