LORAIN, Ohio — Lorain City Schools is mandating masks for all students and staff beginning Thursday after a unanimous vote by the school board.
On Tuesday, the district held a school board meeting and a discussion regarding COVID-19 protocols which led to a vote on whether to mandate masks or to just recommend them.
The school board unanimously voted to implement the mandate, which will be in place for the next eight weeks.
Masks will be made available at all district facilities and on all school transportation for those who need one, according to Lorain City Schools.
As part of the decision, the district decided to allow exceptions for vaccinated teachers to remove their masks while teaching, if doing so "improves communication during the lesson, lecture or announcement." Those with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask are also exempt from the mandate.
Students will be able to remove their masks for eating and drinking and can also remove them to participate in recess, gym, athletics, band and other similar activities.
Lorain City Schools' decision comes after the first week back to in-person learning, which saw a surge in COVID-19 cases in the district. In the span of three days, cases in the district jumped from seven to 28 to 77.
As of Wednesday, there are 24 positive COVID-19 cases in Lorain City Schools students, eight positive cases in staff and 48 students quarantined. While the district said most of the cases have been traced to close contacts outside of the schools, 14 of the 48 students quarantined were exposed in the cafeterias of the schools — a point the district plans to address, it said.
"Our goal is to keep our kids in school, and to keep our kids, staff and families safe. Therefore we will continue to do all we can to avoid exposure, isolation and quarantine," the district said in a release to families.
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