Mad River Local Schools to require face masks for grades PreK-6

Mad River Local Schools is among the latest districts to update its mask policy after announcing face masks will be required for all students, staff and visitors while indoors for preschool through sixth grade.

Students will not have to wear masks while outdoors for recess or during outdoor class activities. Students with a medical condition that would prevent them from wearing a mask must provide a note from their doctor to their building principal.

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“Ultimately, we want our students in school, all day, every day, five days a week,” read a statement from the school district. “The only way we can ensure this is to require masks for all students in PK-6, where the majority of students are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Masking unvaccinated students allows us not to have to quarantine students who are in close contact with a COVID-positive person. If they were not masked, they would have to be quarantined for 10 days.”

Masks are required for all K-12 students while on buses, according to the district.

Mad River is scheduled to start its school year on Tuesday. The district noted the update in policy came after watching other local school districts update their mask policies after returning to class.

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Last week, multiple area school districts closed due to COVID-19-related absences, including Carlisle Local Schools, Lebanon City Schools and New Lebanon Local Schools. Wayne High School will do remote schooling through Sept. 14 due COVID cases.

“Masking will allow us to keep our students in school and significantly reduce the number of students that would have to be quarantined,” Mad River said. “...As a district, we will monitor our data and regional data throughout the school year. Once we get to a point where we can lift the mask requirement for staff, students and visitors PK-6, we will.”

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