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City of Bexley, more local school districts are dropping mask mandates

Stack of disposable paper face masks.
Mika Baumeister
Stack of disposable paper face masks.

More Central Ohio mask mandates are going away as the region and state see continued declines in COVID-19 infections rates and case numbers.

The Bexley City Council this week rescinded the city's mask requirement for indoor spaces, effective immediately.

“We have now seemingly passed the peak of the omicron variant and as case counts drop precipitously throughout our region, we sit below both hospitalization and case count rates as compared to September, 2021 when the mandate was initiated; children age 5-11 now have access to the vaccine who did not at that time; and the predominant omicron variant is less severe (albeit more infectious) than its delta counterpart,” Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said in a statement. “The time has come to release the mask mandate, and this is a thing to celebrate.”

Statewide, Ohio health officials reported 899 and 851 new cases on Sunday and Monday, respectively, the first time daily case numbers below 1,000 since last July. The number of people hospitalized with COVID in Ohio is now below 1,500 for the first time since last August.

Under the city’s new policy, businesses are still allowed to required masks if owners choose to do so.

The Groveport Madison school board on Wednesday voted to rescind the district’s mask mandate beginning Thursday. The district's COVID dashboard shows just one new case reported during the latest period.

The board in Worthington City Schools also met Wednesday for a special meeting, with a mask issue the only thing on the agenda. The item approved on a 4-1 vote said that after Sunday, “universal mask-wearing on school grounds is not required. Passengers and drivers continue to be required to wear masks while on school transportation, subject to the CDC’s January 29, 2021 Order, its exclusions and its exemptions.”

School boards in Dublin, Gahanna, Hilliard, Westerville, Olentangy and Upper Arlington have also recently made masking voluntary.