The announcement also comes after Ohio set a sixth consecutive daily record after coronavirus hospitalizations have increased daily since Christmas.
But the main impetus, said city schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr., was the desire to keep the district’s 6,300 students learning in person in Middletown’s 10 school buildings.
“Our Butler County health officials are sharing that the number of cases in our area is significantly high and my goal is to keep our students learning face to face inside our buildings,” Styles said.
“It is extremely important that we do everything we can to keep our students and staff healthy. Temporarily masking up during this surge is just one way we can help our students and staff.”
Classes are scheduled to start Thursday and as of Tuesday school officials said the return to mandatory masks, which was changed in October to “strongly recommended” mask policy, is scheduled to remain in place through Jan. 26.
At the beginning of the current school year some area districts saw some school parents complain and protest the then mandatory mask requirements that were relaxed to strongly recommended later in the fall prior to the current COVID-19 Omicron variant surge.
Masks must be worn while indoors, said city school officials, who cited recommendations from the Middletown City Health Department and the Butler County Health Department.
“Teachers and staff will provide breaks for students to briefly remove their masks throughout the day. Students will not be required to wear masks outdoors,” said school officials.
“District and school leaders will continue to monitor guidance and recommendations from local, state and federal public health officials. The district will revisit this decision at the Jan. 24 (Middletown) Board of Education meeting,” they said.
Middletown school parents and guardians with any questions are asked to contact their children’s school principal, said district officials.