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Chagrin Falls school district to mandate masks for all students, staff, visitors

The coverings had previously been required only for students in grades K-6.

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above is from a previous story.

With COVID-19 cases still relatively high across Northeast Ohio, Chagrin Falls has decided to expand its school face mask policies.

The district on Thursday announced it will expand its mask mandate and apply it to all students, staff, and visitors while indoors. The guidelines had previously been in place only for those in grades K-6.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to monitor local, county and state Covid-19 data, student and staff attendance, and guidance from the Governor, the Ohio Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)," Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Penczarski wrote in a letter to families. "This change in Covid-19 protocol helps to ensure we keep our students and staff in school five days a week, in a safe manner."

RELATED: Northeast Ohio school districts update mask guidelines for 2021-22 school year

As Penczarski, both the CDC and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine have recommended all schools require masks indoors for all individuals, partly because of the prevalence of the delta variant and the fact that children under 12 are still ineligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Since the beginning of the school year, 13 Chagrin Falls students and four staff members have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, while dozens more have been forced to quarantine.

Despite the vast majority of doctors and public health officials advocating for face coverings, the guidelines have still drawn the ire of some in the community. Back in August when Chagrin Falls first required masks for younger students, a banner reading "Muzzle the school board not our kids!" flew by plane over one of the district's buildings as children were preparing for their first day of school.

The new protocols will go into effect this coming Monday. School officials say there are select exemptions available, which can be found here.

LIST: Schools, venues, stores and institutions in Northeast Ohio requiring COVID-19 vaccination or masks

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