Independence Local Schools keeps masks optional on heels of governor’s plea


INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the issue of students wearing masks in class as the school year restarts.

DeWine said because of the surge in delta variant cases, he thinks all students should be required to wear the masks. Right now the decision is up to each district.

“At the very least consider doing it for the next few weeks when we know the virus spread level will be very high. You an always go back to no masks once the spread is reduced,” DeWine said on Tuesday.

On the heels of the news conference, the Independence Local Schools Board of Education was meeting to vote on the issue. The school board adopted the state’s safety guidelines, including quarantine, but decided to make masks a recommendation for now.

About 75 parents and students showed up at the high school Tuesday night to voice their concerns. The majority of the crowd asked the board to keep masks optional, describing difficulties last year.

“So my son’s first year was last year and it was a struggle for him as well as other children,” one parent said.

“She asked to leave to go to the bathroom so she could sit in the stall and take it down and catch her breath and calm herself down,” one mother added.

But other parents agreed with DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff that masks work. They asked to keep masking in schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It just doesn’t make sense to me that the cheapest, easiest deterrent is put a mask on and distancing,” one father said.

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