Ohio’s order on face masks in schools: What you need to know

Ohio K-12 students required to wear masks to school

An order requiring all students, staff and faculty in schools and other child education settings went into effect Friday morning.

Masks or other facial coverings are required while inside, including in classrooms, gyms, offices, locker rooms, hallways, cafeterias and locker bays, as well as while riding a school bus.

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Masks should also be worn while outside on school property when people are unable to keep at least 6 feet apart from others and if social distancing is not possible while waiting for a school bus, according to the order, signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes.

The order will remain in effect until the State of Emergency ends or the ODH director rescinds or modifies it.

Masks are not required under the following circumstances:

  • An individual has a medical condition, such as a respiratory condition that restricts breathing, mental health condition or a disability that would be worsened by wearing a mask;
  • An individual is communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or has a disability where an accommodation is necessary;
  • An individual is actively participating in outdoor recess or physical activity where they are required to remain 6 feet apart or in an athletic practice, scrimmage or competition allowed under a different order;
  • An individual is sitting and eating or drinking;
  • During lessons where students and staff are 6 feet apartment and wearing a face mask would prevent instruction or participation during a lesson, such as foreign language classes or while playing a musical instrument;
  • Students are 6 feet apart and a teacher deems a mask break is necessary;
  • An individual is alone in an enclosed space, such as on office;
  • When an established religious requirement exists that does not allow wearing a mask.