DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Public Schools said masks will now be required by all people in district buildings.

The district said that beginning August 12, all staff, students and visitors to any district building will be required to wear a mask. The school previously said it will not require masks for vaccinated people for the upcoming school year. According to a release Wednesday, DPS changed the guidelines due to an increase in delta variant COVID-19 cases in the city.

“The district’s goal is to keep students and staff safe, and provide high-quality, in-person instruction in an effort to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on education,” said Dayton Public Schools.

Watch DPS Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli discuss the district’s updated mask guidelines via Zoom:

DPS Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli said the district has every intention to keep students fully in-person this year and masks are a step to achieve that.

“Many of our younger students in all schools have not been vaccinated because it’s not available yet to them,” Lolli said. “So we wanted to make sure that we stay face-to- face, want to make sure that we can stay five days in school, and want to make sure we can have our students here in a safe environment.”

Lolli said students will get mask breaks throughout the day and there is a program to accomodate students with mask-related anxiety.

Due to a federal mandate, the school said staff and students of all ages are required to wear masks at all times when on school buses. The district also said it will continue to follow OHSAA guidelines for athletics. Masks will not be required at outdoor athletic events. 

DPS said it will continue to thoroughly clean and sanitize buildings, follow social distancing guidelines when possible and encourage frequent handwashing. DPS will not allow parents/guardians to visit classrooms, but they can still visit the main office as long as masks are worn. 

Students will return to the classroom for the 2021-2022 school year on Wednesday, August 18.

Lolli said if COVID-19 cases in the community decrease, the district will reevaluate and make changes to their policies.

“As in everything we did last year, whenever there’s a change in the environment, a change in the infection rate, either positive or negative, we make adjustments because we want our students to have the safe environment that they need in order to learn,” Lolli said.