Bill seeks to block mask mandates for Ohio public schools, colleges

The bill would ban any school district or board from requiring masks.
The bill would ban any school district or board from requiring masks.(WWNY)
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 12:49 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - A bill introduced last week would ban Ohio’s public schools and colleges from mandating masks for students and faculty.

Senate Bill 209, introduced by Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), would block any district or board from requiring masks on school grounds.

Students, school staff and visitors would not have to wear a facial covering for any class or school-sponsored event.

“An individual may choose to wear a facial covering but shall not be required to do so,” the bill reads.

On July 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that vaccinated teachers and students do not need to wear masks inside school buildings.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended universal masking in schools for everyone older than 2.

The Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education has not issued guidance on masks or vaccine requirements for the 2021-22 school year.

The board declined to vote during its June 3 meeting on a policy that would require students to wear masks in the fall.

Mike Moroski, the policy chairperson for CPS, said health officials, not politicians, need to make the recommendations on masking.

“I really would like to see a day where we don’t have to ask kids and teachers to wear masks, but I don’t think, I don’t think we’re there yet and a lot of the health professionals with whom I speak with don’t either.”

A vote on a vaccine mandate was also expected but the proposal was sent back to the committee.

The mandate would require all district employees and co-located partners to receive at least the first vaccine dose before Aug. 17.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill preventing Ohio schools from requiring vaccines the day after the CPS board meeting.

House Bill 244 prohibits public schools in Ohio from mandating vaccines not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The three COVID-19 vaccines currently in use each received emergency use authorization from the FDA but so far have not received full approval.

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