Kettering schools to revisit mask issue amid COVID cases, quarantines

The Kettering City School District said it plans not require face coverings for the coming school year. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF
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The Kettering City School District said it plans not require face coverings for the coming school year. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Masks optional for students, staff in district.

KETTERING — Kettering City Schools’ top official announced that he will revisit the district’s stance on masks and will make a recommendation Tuesday during the Board of Education meeting.

It is optional for students and staff to wear masks, but during the first seven days of classes there already have been COVID-19 cases and required quarantines for students and staff members, Superintendent Scott Inskeep said in a Friday letter to parents and staff.

ExploreRELATED: Kettering schools not requiring face masks as part of coronavirus protocols

The coronavirus cases and “extremely strong recommendations” last week from Gov. Mike Dewine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff to mandate masks in schools prompted Inskeep to reflect on the district’s policy, he said.

“The health and safety of our students and staff is and always will be my top priority,” Inskeep said. “Similarly, our ultimate goal continues to be keeping students in school, five days a week for the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year. It is my intention to focus on these to factors as I consider a recommendation to the Board of Education regarding the masking of students in our schools.”

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After a debate on the issue last month, the school board decided to make masks optional for all students and staff in the district.

Inskeep said previously that school officials recognized the decision could change.

The first day of school was Aug. 12 for first through 10th grades. Classes did not start until Aug. 13 for seniors and juniors; Aug. 16 for preschoolers; and Aug. 18 for kindergartners.

Kettering is not the only district that is considering or has made a change since the start of the school year. Northmont, Beavercreek, Fairborn and Springboro have also made announcements about masking recently, following surges in COVID-19 cases.

[Beavercreek, Fairborn change mask policies for students]

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.

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.

Springboro students, teachers and staff at pre-K through sixth-grade buildings were required to wear masks starting Thursday, according to a new policy put in place in response to Gov. Mike DeWine’s recommendation students wear a mask due to the increase of the delta variant.

Springboro Schools Superintendent Larry Hook issued the update Wednesday to the district’s policy. He said the district will follow the same guidelines from last year for mask exemptions.

The districts have all cited guidance from DeWine, who has noted masking and vaccines are needed to keep kids safe and in school.

“The outcome we are seeking is to keep kids in school safely,” Northmont said. “Our parents and community have been supportive throughout these trying times, and we are confident that you will help us keep kids in school.”

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Kettering City Schools Superintendent Scott Inskeep
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Kettering City Schools Superintendent Scott Inskeep