DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– All of Ohio’s 88 counties remain above medium incidence levels as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Many school districts are encouraging masks, but not requiring them.

Some Miami Valley health leaders are advising parents to have their student mask up returning to school this year – even if there aren’t masking mandates.

“The CDC just came out with new guidance which is good news for schools and good news for the opportunity to keep our kids in class in front of teachers where they need to be,” said Clark County Combined Health District Health Commissioner Charles Patterson.

Patterson is praising the CDC’s new guidance, erasing the quarantine period of a person exposed to COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status. He’s hopeful that students will remain in the classroom, which is right where they need to be.

“Kids are actually slipping in grade level, reading levels and slipping in social-emotional learning so it’s very important to have kids in schools with their peers with their teachers, that’s really why the CDC has changed their recommendations,” said Patterson.

Dayton Public Schools said they are strongly recommending masks for all staff and students due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Springboro Schools sent a district-wide letter to families, saying in part quote:

“Currently, we are under no health department mandates from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) or the Warren County Health District to contact trace, quarantine, wear masks, or test for COVID-19 at any of our school buildings. Our hospital systems, at this time, are not being taxed with COVID-19 cases anywhere near as high as they were previously. With that being said, we still recommend masks for those who choose to do so but will not be requiring masks.”

As students return to the classroom, Patterson is asking families to show grace to one another.

“Let people choose so if someone decides to wear a mask, let them have that choice, give them grace to do what they need to do to protect themselves and their families,” said Patterson.

DPS posted that Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County will be at their Board of Education meeting Tuesday, August 16, to address the uptick in cases and if their optional masking policy should change for the school year. If they decided to make a change— they said parents will be notified immediately.

According to the CDC, Champaign, Clark and Miami counties went from “high” last week to “medium” Thursday. Butler, Darke, Greene, Montgomery, Preble and Warren counties remained at “high” incidence levels for COVID-19 cases. There are no counties in Ohio at a “low” COVID community level. 

The state has 32 counties at “medium” and the remaining 56 are at “high.”

You can read the full letter from Springboro Schools below: