CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — The debate on masks inside classrooms in Northeast Ohio once again ramped up on Thursday morning when an anti-mask banner flew over one local school district's buildings.
Chagrin Falls residents looked up to the sky this morning to find a banner circling the area reading, "muzzle the school board not our kids," in regards to the decision by officials within Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools to require masks at the start of the 2021- 2022 year.
According to a plan released by the district earlier this month, masks and face coverings are required for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Staff who work with these grade levels are also required to wear a mask while indoors.
The banner comes just days after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine pleaded with parents and school districts around the state to enforce mask requirements as students head back into classrooms, pointing to rising COVID-19 cases both state an nationwide, as well as growing fears over the transmissibility of the delta variant of the virus.
"Our students can't afford another disrupted school year. We need them in the classroom," Gov. DeWine said Tuesday. "The best way to protect them is to send them to school with masks."
"Pursuant to health agency guidance, the use of masks (face coverings) is an important component to help prevent the spread of germs. Additionally, the use of face coverings significantly reduces the need for quarantine in circumstances of Covid-19 exposure," the district wrote in its back to school reopening plans, released on its website.
Despite the steadily increasing coronavirus cases in Ohio, some parents have remained adamant about keeping masks optional, even as the CDC has only approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 and older.
On Wednesday, Superintendent of Mentor Public Schools Bill Porter reversed his district's initial plan to keep masks and face coverings optional district-wide, stating that the best way to keep kids inside of the classroom this year is to use masks and face coverings to fight the virus.
"With the new information we have it has become abundantly clear that for Mentor schools to be able to stay open for in-person learning, we need to require face coverings in school, at least to start the year," Porter said.
The video in the player below is from a previously published story.