Dayton suspends COVID testing policy, mask requirement

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein speaks at a city press conference last fall. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein speaks at a city press conference last fall. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The city of Dayton has suspended its policy requiring employees to get vaccinated or undergo regular testing for COVID-19, City Manager Shelley Dickstein confirmed this week.

The city made the decision after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on Friday relaxing mask recommendations, Dickstein said.

Dickstein said a notice went out to employees on Monday afternoon that stated they no longer needed to undergo testing, which had been required of workers who were unvaccinated or who refused to disclose their vaccination status.

Dickstein said the COVID policy was suspended for all workers, but she wasn’t sure on Wednesday evening if the change had been officially accepted by the fire union.

Combined ShapeCaption
Some visitors and Dayton employees wore face masks at Wednesday's city commission meeting even though the city lifted its indoor mask requirement on Monday. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Some visitors and Dayton employees wore face masks at Wednesday's city commission meeting even though the city lifted its indoor mask requirement on Monday. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Some visitors and Dayton employees wore face masks at Wednesday's city commission meeting even though the city lifted its indoor mask requirement on Monday. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

ExplorePrevious: City, unions settle on COVID testing issue

Other labor unions agreed to the policy suspension, she said.

“I hope that we are turning the corner on endemic and learning how to live with this virus,” she said. “I hope we have an opportunity to normalize a bit and maybe we’ll just have to deal with it in the fall, like we do other viral activity as it occurs.”

In a Monday email, Dayton Human Resources Director Ken Couch told city employees they are no longer required to wear masks indoors, and visitors to city facilities also no longer are required to don facial coverings.

The city also rescinded emergency COVID-19 sick leave, vacation leave and remote work policies that were adopted in September 2021, Couch’s email states.

Combined ShapeCaption
Many Dayton employees and visitors wore masks at Wednesday's city commission meeting even though the city lifted the indoor mask requirement two days earlier. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Many Dayton employees and visitors wore masks at Wednesday's city commission meeting even though the city lifted the indoor mask requirement two days earlier. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Many Dayton employees and visitors wore masks at Wednesday's city commission meeting even though the city lifted the indoor mask requirement two days earlier. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dickstein said the city’s testing policy was effective and successful because it minimized the spread of the virus in the city organization.

She said the testing policy identified some employees who were infected and contagious and kept them from potentially getting other workers sick.

However, some of the city’s labor unions opposed and challenged the testing requirements, claiming they violated their collective bargaining agreements.

The city’s new policy requires people who are positive with COVID or have symptoms to quarantine for five days.

If they have no symptoms at the end of five days, they can leave isolation but must wear a mask while near others for another five days.

Employees who are vaccinated and boosted but who are exposed to COVID, must wear a mask for 10 days.

After COVID exposure, unvaccinated workers and workers who can but haven’t received a booster yet must quarantine for five days and then wear a mask for five days after that.

About the Author