COLUMBUS, Ohio — As students prepare to make their return to the classroom, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is expressing concern regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).
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At a press briefing on Tuesday, DeWine stated that the recent surge in coronavirus numbers associated with the COVID-19 Delta Variant has put the possibility of keeping students in the classroom at risk and reiterated the recommendation of health officials for students to either get vaccinated for COVID-19 or wear masks if they are unable to do so.
"Our students can't afford another disrupted school year," DeWine said. "We need them in the classroom."
While DeWine noted the success that schools had in keeping students in the classroom with mask mandates last year, he also acknowledged that such mandates on his end are no longer feasible. Earlier this year, Ohio lawmakers passed and overrode a veto on Senate Bill 22, which gives the state's General Assembly the ability to be able to reject any of the governor’s or health department’s health orders.
While DeWine no longer has the ability to issue statewide mask mandates, as he did in July of 2020, individual school districts are able to set their own policies regarding mask mandates. At Tuesday's press briefing, DeWine pleaded with districts to at least consider mask mandates for the next few weeks and reminded parents in the state that they can have their children wear masks in schools regardless of their district's policies.
"The best way to protect them is to send them to school with masks," DeWine said.
On Tuesday, Ohio reported 3,235 new COVID-19 cases, an increase of 1,421 from the day prior.
You can watch DeWine's full press briefing in the video player below.