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DeWine Says He Won't Mandate Face Masks In Schools

Kids walk to class in the hallway of Worthington Kilbourne High School. All students will be back in the district's schools for in-person learning starting March 22.
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau

The Ohio Department of Health’s latest COVID guidance for K-12 schools strongly recommends those who can be vaccinated get shots, and masks for those who can’t or choose not to. But it doesn’t mandate masks for all, like some individual schools are doing. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said when schools required students and staff to wear masks indoors last school year, it worked well at preventing COVID transmission. But he says he cannot do that this year.  

“There is not the appetite in this state today for that kind of mandate," DeWine said.

The governor said he doesn’t have the ability to mandate masks in schools. Some districts, including Columbus and Cleveland, have already adopted policies requiring masking for this coming school year, but some state lawmakers support legislation that would make it illegal for schools to mandate masks for K-12 staff and students. 

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.