COLUMBUS, Ohio — After weeks of encouraging students in the state to wear masks to school in order to help combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ohio Children's Hospitals Association is taking the next step. At a press briefing on Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the OCHA has directly asked all superintendents in the state to implement a mask mandate for their school districts.
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The request comes amid a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the state following the start of the new school year that the OCHA said could impact its ability to treat children in need across the state. At his press briefing, DeWine reiterated that the best way for students and school staff to decrease the spread of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated (if they are old enough to) or to wear masks while in school.
"I think just about everybody in Ohio now agrees that we must do what we can to keep our children in the classroom," DeWine said. "We need our kids in school so that they don't fall behind, so that their parents can continue to work and not take time off to be home with the children and so we don't exacerbate the behavior and health challenges that children face by not being in the classroom, by not being there with other kids.
"If we want our kids to stay in school, if we want our schools to stay open, the best way to do that is to, of course, if the child is old enough, to be vaccinated -- that's adults and kids age 12 and older. But if a child is too young to be vaccinated, then until we get through this, we need children who come to school to wear a mask.
You can watch DeWine's full press briefing in the video player below.