DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County is encouraging all schools to enforce mask mandates regardless of vaccination status.

Public Health said their mask recommendation hasn’t changed, it’s been highly encouraged for the entire school year. Recently, Thanksgiving break has caused a rise in cases making masks even more important in the classrooms.

“There are cases rising pretty much all over the place so it is a situation where it’s not just schools, but schools do have a good control over their student body, faculty so they can make a difference and help us out, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Public Health Public Information Officer Dan Suffoletto.

Public Health is warning schools that 143 active outbreaks, or groups of cases, have been reported in Montgomery County schools in the past four days alone. They are strongly encouraging school districts to require masks now or at the start of the 2022 semester.

Due to a federal order, students and staff are still required to wear a mask when they are riding district transportation until March 18, 2022.

In Montgomery County, face masks are required inside school buildings at all times in:

  • Dayton Public Schools
  • West Carrollton Schools
  • Jefferson Township Local Schools
  • Mad River Local Schools
  • Centerville City Schools
  • Kettering City Schools
  • Northmont City Schools

Masks are optional in the following Montgomery County schools:

  • Brookville Local Schools
  • Miamisburg City Schools
  • Carroll High School
  • Trotwood-Madison City Schools
  • Valley View Local Schools
  • Huber Heights City Schools
  • Northridge Local Schools
  • Vandalia Butler City Schools
  • New Lebanon City Schools

C.J. High School is removing their mask mandate starting January 3, as well as Miami Valley CTC is removing their mask mandate on January 4. Oakwood City Schools has divided their mask guidelines between kindergarten through 12th grade, enforcing masks in elementary schools but making them optional in middle and high schools.

“People who are vaccinated can still get sick so it’s very important to note this recommendation is for everyone regardless of vaccination status,” said Suffoletto. “There may not be enough time between now and the holidays to still get vaccinated, but sooner rather than later is your best course.”

The coronavirus dashboard shows over 59 percent of eligible Ohioans have started the vaccination process.