The Olentangy Local School District will no longer require its students to wear masks inside buildings beginning Monday. During Thursday’s meeting of the Olentangy Board of Education, Superintendent Mark Raiff provided an update on Olentangy’s Health and Prevention Guidance policies, at which time he suspended the board’s requirement for face coverings.
Per the federal executive order, students who use district bus transportation will still be required to wear masks while riding the bus.
Raiff cited the most recent quarantine guidance from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Delaware Public Health District (DPHD), which have decreased contact tracing and quarantine requirements, as key developments in the decision to suspend the mandate.
In a message to the Olentangy community, Raiff stated, “When reimagining what education would look like in a pandemic, my driving question was: how do we maximize student learning while minimizing risks for students and staff? This question continues to guide decisions today, along with the goal to keep as many students and staff in the classroom as possible and out of quarantine. With the OHD and the DPHD continuing to reduce contact tracing efforts and lessen quarantine restrictions, I am increasingly confident that students and staff can maintain in-person learning without the required mitigation layer of face masks.”
Raiff acknowledged the divisiveness of the COVID-related policies within the community but insisted the decisions are “not made lightly.” With a slew of questions likely to be thrown at the district relating to other COVID policies, Raiff asked for the community’s patience while the district determines the next steps relating to things such as visitors, parent volunteers, class parties, and end-of-year activities.
Raiff went on to say, “As we move forward, we will continue to closely monitor relevant data on the COVID-19 cases, Delaware County vaccination rates, student and staff absence rates as well as substitute fill rates. Our student well-being team will be available to offer students and staff support through this transition. I believe this is another step in the right direction and appreciate the community continuing to work together to support our schools in facilitating maximum learning for every student.”
For more information on the upcoming changes in the district, visit www.olentangy.k12.oh.us/about/health-and-prevention-guidance-for-the-2021-2022-school-year.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.