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'The data is now clear': Gov. Mike DeWine lays out case for schools to require masks

In his briefing, DeWine stated that COVID-19 cases are increasing at nearly twice the rate among school-aged kids as compared to the rest of the population.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Although he will not impose a mask mandate for the state's K-12 schools, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made a plea for districts to take the step themselves during a briefing on Tuesday.

"The data is now clear that there is a higher level of COVID in school districts where masks are not required," DeWine stated. 

To help back up his statement, the governor laid out a number of eye-opening statistics showing how quickly the rate of cases is going up at schools across Ohio. 

RELATED: Ohio Children's Hospitals Association asks all school districts to mandate masks

"COVID-19 cases are increasing at nearly twice the rate among school-aged kids as compared to the rest of the population," DeWine said. "This past week, we saw a 44% increase among school-aged children and only a 17% increase among the rest of us."

According to DeWine, over the two-week period ending September 4th, there was an average of 909 cases per 100,000 for school-aged Ohio kids versus only 561 cases per 100,000 for the rest of the state.

DeWine also noted that the 16 highest number of cases per day throughout the entire pandemic for kids aged 5 to 17 in Ohio have all been in the last 19 days.

"The best way to keep schools open & kids out of quarantine is for those 12+ to get vaccinated. But because those under 12 are too young to be vaccinated, we need all students who come to school to wear a mask until we get through this," DeWine added.

You can watch Tuesday's briefing in the player below:

RELATED: Watch live: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine holds COVID-19 press conference

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