Beavercreek, Fairborn change mask policies for students

Beavercreek and Fairborn city schools changed their mask policies for after Gov. Mike DeWine pleaded for Ohio districts to increase precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to keep children learning in person.

Fairborn City Schools shared a press release Wednesday announcing the district will require face masks for all students and staff while indoors and on buses.

“Requiring students and staff to wear masks will eliminate quarantine when exposed to a positive COVID-19 person, keeping students safe and in the classroom,” read a statement from the district. “The wearing of masks also protects those students who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.”

Fairborn will allow the same exemptions as it did last year.

Beavercreek informed parents in a letter Tuesday night: “We will be increasing our safety measures for students in grades K-6.”

Students in those grades will be required to wear masks when indoors and when on buses, starting immediately.

“Requiring students in grades K-6 to wear a mask will eliminate quarantines when exposed to a positive COVID-19 person, keeping them safe and in the classroom. It will also help protect the students who are not eligible to receive the vaccination,” the letter said.

Both districts cited information from DeWine and from Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health.

“Governor DeWine sent a strong message to parents, teachers and school district leadership-mask up to protect students and staff members,” read a statement from Fairborn. “The best way to keep students safe and in school is to be vaccinated and when they cannot be vaccinated, they should wear a mask.”

In a press conference, the two said new cases hit their highest level since February with more than 3,200 new daily cases reported Tuesday.

DeWine “spoke directly to every parent, school official, and school board member in Ohio, and he stated the best way to make sure a child can stay in school is to be vaccinated. If a child cannot be vaccinated, they should wear a mask,” the Beavercreek letter said.

Fairborn said the district believes the best place for its students to learn is in the classroom and that the district wants to provide the social-emotional and academic support each students needs to be successful.

“The pandemic and the past year has required the district to look at data and the safety of students and staff to make the best possible decisions-to keep students and all staff members safe-while providing an educational environment that our students need,” the district said.

Beavercreek was one of a few local school districts that managed to provide traditional in-person learning for students, the letter said.

“We value the social-emotional and academic benefits with students attending in-person and strive to maintain this instructional model again this school year,” the letter said.

Beavercreek will follow the same guidelines for mask exemptions as last year, the letter said.

The letter concluded: “We want to thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we continue navigating through this pandemic daily. As always, we will continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on our students and staff and adjust our COVID-19 protocols accordingly.”