NewsGetting Back to School


How local districts are determining mask policies heading into school year

Mask school
Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 18:58:08-04

Students are outside enjoying what's left of their summer before heading back to class, and it is already shaping up to be another unique school year.

COVID-19 cases are rising and school districts are working on ways to combat it.

"It is difficult because we do get mixed messages and we have a lot of different entities that send us what they think should happen,” said Parma City School Superintendent Charles Smialek. “It ultimately ends up being a local decision for the most part, that’s why you see so many school districts doing different things."

Smialek’s sentiments aren’t wrong.

The CDC said vaccinated teachers and students don't need to wear masks, while the American Academy of Pediatrics said everyone at school should wear one.

In the meantime, an Ohio senator just introduced a bill that could ban schools from mandating face masks.

Smialek said that as of now, his district will not require masks this fall.

Michelle Dinardo has four students in Parma Schools, including two elementary-aged kids, and she’s on board with a district-wide mask mandate.

“It’s definitely better than getting sick, anything is better than getting sick,” said Dinaro. “A little mask will go a long way.”

But other parents believe students should have a choice in their mask use.

“I think that it should be an option for students and the adults in the buildings to wear them if they want to,” said Danielle Steele. “I don't feel that it should be mandatory."

News 5 reached out to multiple other districts to learn about their plans heading into the fall.

Mentor Public Schools is making masks optional, but plan to revisit the issue in August.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District plans to mandate masks.

Canton and Solon school districts are still determining plans heading into the fall.

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