WADSWORTH, Ohio (WJW)– More than 500 students were forced into quarantine in the Wadsworth City School District after 74 students tested positive for COVID-19.
That’s about 12 percent of the entire student body being placed in quarantine for the next 7 to 10 days in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health’s Guidelines for Quarantine After Exposure in K-12 Classroom Settings.
“Those numbers are pretty significant,” said Dr. Andy Hill, Wadsworth City Schools superintendent. “Last year we had 700 total in full quarantine and to be almost at 500 already in the second week of school is concerning.”
The high numbers led to an intense debate among parents for and against mask mandates during Monday nights’ school board meeting. In the end, the board decided to bring back the mask mandates, at least temporarily, starting Wednesday inside all facilities during regular school operations.
Hill said they really have no choice at this time and it’s the only way to reduce the number of kids being sent home because of the state’s guidelines.
“The governor reiterated today in an email he sent out to the superintendents saying the bottom line is that if you’re vaccinated, a child’s vaccinated or a child’s wearing a mask he or she will not have to be quarantined from school,” Hill said.
Masks will definitely be mandatory until the next board of education meeting on Sept. 20 when the situation and other possible solutions will be assessed.
Hill said the hope is to get the numbers under control and then be able to possibly lift the mandate, but no matter what happens the primary goal remains the same.
“We value the right of parents to have individual choice as it relates to so many of these items that are hot-button topics right now. We also have an obligation to figure out ways to keep kids here because at the end of the day, regardless where you fall on these issues, I think everybody can focus around the goal of they want their kid in school and educated,” Hill said.
Other districts are also seeing similar situations.
Parents in the Brecksville Broadview Heights School District received a letter this week informing them that an entire class would also be “remote learning” for nearly two weeks because of a cluster of COVID-19 cases.