DeWine says he won’t implement mandate after ODH recommends masks for unvaccinated students


(WJW) — Gov. Mike DeWine said today, that even after the Ohio Department of Health shared an updated COVID-19 safety guidance for Ohio schools, he would not be mandating masks.

At a press conference earlier Monday, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, ODH Chief Medical Officer, gave the following recommendations:

DeWine said that mask mandates would be left up to specific districts and parents.

“I have the obligation to share the best data that we have and our heath department has the best data they have. So what we’ve done is share that with everyone,” DeWine said. “… the evidence is desperately overwhelming [that masking works].”

When asked why he didn’t want to require people in schools to wear masks, DeWine said: “I do not believe I have the ability today to mandate that. There is not the appetite in the state to do it right now.

See all of ODH’s guidance, below:

He also recommended that everyone who could do so be vaccinated.

**For more on Monday’s Vanderhoff, press conference, read the blog at the bottom of this page**

WBNS reported last week that DeWine said he believes schools in Ohio will be able to keep kids safe and he’s hoping the FDA will have vaccines available to kids under 12 sometime this fall. 

He recently signed a bill banning schools and universities from requiring vaccines approved for use under an emergency use authorization.

Children will be required to wear a mask on a bus or any public transit, per the Centers for Disease Control, regardless of vaccination status.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said all students over age 2, along with staff, should wear masks in school, whether they have been vaccinated for coronavirus.


  • Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, ODH Chief Medical Officer: There’s been an increase in COVID cases due to the Delta variant. “It simply takes less” for this variant to spread.
  • Vanderhoff: ODH will be releasing updated guidance for schools as they prepare for the year. Will be posted no later than tomorrow.
  • Vanderhoff: There are no mandates, but recommendations we are issuing are essential.
  • Vanderhoff: The guidance will allow districts to allow access to in-person learning five days per week.
  • Vanderhoff: My best recommendation is to talk to doctor, nurse about the vaccines if concerned.
  • Vanderhoff: Vaccine can be administered with other back-to-school vaccines.
  • Vanderhoff: Recommends three to six feet distancing in schools. If not possible, layer other protections like covering coughs/sneezes and wearing masks.
  • Vanderhoff: Recommends mask wearing for students who are not vaccinated.

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