Oct. 27—Both Perrysburg and Anthony Wayne school district officials announced that mask-wearing is no longer required in schools.
The move follows state health officials' move Monday to revamp its K-12 school guidance regarding at-home quarantining after suspected exposure to someone with coronavirus. The new guidelines allow students and staff to stay in school if they agree to then wear a face mask for 14 days after the last known date of exposure, monitor for symptoms, and immediately isolate and get tested should any symptoms appear.
This process could end after seven days if the person remains asymptomatic and tests negative between days five and seven.
"As a result of the changes in the quarantine requirements from ODH, the Anthony Wayne Local Schools will move from a mask requirement to masks as an option for staff and students starting on Wednesday, October 27," reads an Anthony Wayne online announcement. "The District does highly recommend that students and staff wear masks to eliminate the potential for a quarantine during an exposure at school. Please know that if an individual is wearing a mask at school and is exposed to a positive person, the individual will not be placed into quarantine unless the exposed person becomes symptomatic."
Perrysburg Superintendent Tom Hosler and the district updated its online coronavirus guidance document to state that "Perrysburg Schools strongly recommends face coverings for all students, staff and visitors indoors on school property" and crossed out guidelines that call for face coverings to be worn at all times.
Many Lucas and Wood county school districts initially started off the academic year recommending — but not requiring — mask-wearing in schools. But many reversed course soon after because they otherwise would have to force more students to quarantine at home if they were believed to be exposed to the coronavirus under local health department regulations.
As the school year got underway — and coronavirus and quarantine case counts rose and fell throughout September — district officials relaxed some of the quarantine policies, most notably by no longer forcing students sitting near a coronavirus-positive classmate to have to quarantine for two weeks as long as all those students wore masks.
The latest protocol change follows a pilot program in Warren County as well as experiences in schools seen nationally.
Statehouse reporter Jim Provance contributed to this story.