MENTOR, Ohio — After announcing early this month that the district would recommend but not require face masks for students and staff, Mentor Public Schools declared Wednesday that it would be reversing that decision and mandating masks for students and staff beginning Thursday.
On Aug. 3, Mentor Superintendent Bill Porter outlined the back to school plans for the district and while mask wearing was "strongly recommended" for students to start the school year, the choice was left up to parents and guardians.
But just a few weeks later, with a continuing rise of COVID-19 cases and the delta variant rampant across Ohio, Porter made an announcement with updated plans for the district.
"With the new information we have, it has become abundantly clear that for Mentor Schools to be able to stay open for in-person learning, we need to require face-coverings in school, at least to start the school year," Porter said in a video message to parents, staff and students. "The face masks requirement will begin tomorrow, August 19, and will be for both students and staff again this year and until further notice, with the exception being medical exemptions provided by physicians."
Porter said that while some might find the decision to re-implement a mask mandate within the district controversial, it was important to make sure Mentor students can continue in-person learning.
While the mask mandate will quickly take effect, it will continue to be evaluated as this current surge of COVID-19 cases and the delta variant develop.
"When it comes to COVID-19 safety, I expect the protocols will continue to evolve, and we will continue to make adjustments as necessary," Porter said in the video. "As you know, our number one goal is to provide a safe learning environment where students can grow academically, socially and emotionally."
Mentor Public Schools students will start their first day of school with in-person learning on Tuesday, Aug. 24.
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