Centerville Board of Education considers change in mask policy as COVID-19 cases rise

Miami Valley News

CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – The Centerville Board of Education is considering a change to the district’s mask policy as the delta variant causes COVID-19 cases to rise.

In June, Centerville City Schools announced the district would not require masks this year. The Board of Education held a special meeting Thursday evening to discuss amending that policy.

“I don’t care about just my five children, I care about your kids too,” one Centerville parent said during the meeting.

Around a dozen parents spoke out during the meeting about what action they wanted the board to take. The majority urged the school board to require masks for students.

“It’s not fair to put an entire school community at risk because of your personal choice,” parent Rachel Gilbert said. “Masking will help everyone stay equal in terms of everyone has to do it, and everyone will be a little more protected because of it.”

“It’s not okay to put other kids in danger, it’s just not,” parent Emily Foltz said.

However, others said the district should require vaccines for staff, but masks should be left up to the parents.

“You forgot there is no longer a statewide mask mandate at this time,” one parent said. “There’s no need to force masks upon children unless their parents feel the need to wear one.”

Centerville Superintendent Dr. Tom Henderson gave the school board his recommendation.

“Our goal will be to minimize the impact of sending students out of school due to contact tracing and quarantines by using a layered approach,” Henderson said.

Under Henderson’s recommendations, masks would be required in the district’s kindergarten to first grade and elementary buildings.

Six weeks after the vaccine is available to kids 11 and under, the mask requirement would lift.

In the middle and high school buildings, masks would be recommended, but not required.

“Mask wearing will be acceptable and supported for anyone that wants to continue to wear a mask,” Henderson said.

All students are already required to wear a mask on buses because of federal guidelines.

“I do appreciate that the superintendent was trying to come to a good compromise,” Centerville grandparent Deb Jacobs said. “I think that some of what he said was well-founded. I am a little concerned about the older grades.”

This is not a final decision, parents will be notified of the district’s plan by Monday.

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