COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine announced that nearly 58% of Ohio’s public K-12 students are required to wear masks in schools as of Friday.
The 58% is a big increase from 35% reported on Sept. 1.
“I am pleased to see more school superintendents and school boards make the right decision and require masks to protect students and teachers from COVID-19 spread,” DeWine said. “We share a common goal of ensuring kids are in school, in person, five days a week. While vaccinations remain the best protection against severe COVID-19 cases, masking will help protect those that can’t yet receive the vaccine and adds another layer of protection for those that have.”
In his statement, DeWine said the policies are working to limit the spread as case rates are higher in districts where masks are optional and the state is seeing better week-to-week trends and fewer quarantines in schools with masks.
The announcement comes after DeWine was joined by the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association to call on eligible people to get vaccinated and to wear masks, particularly in schools.
Leaders of the state’s six children’s hospitals said sick children are flooding hospitals and putting an unprecedented strain on providers.
During the same briefing, DeWine said he would have issued a statewide mask mandate to slow spiking cases if the Legislature hadn’t tied his hands through a strict restriction on public health orders.
“I’m afraid what would happen is we would slide backwards and we would go the wrong way instead of the right way,” DeWine said.