COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health, following federal guidance, is prohibiting the use of face shields as a substitute for face masks and coverings in schools across the state.
ODH said the use of face shields does not comply with the state’s order requiring the use of face masks and coverings among all students, staff and faculty in any child care setting, school building or K-12 education center in Ohio.
The order does come with some exemptions, some of which include a medical condition that restricts breathing, mental health conditions and disabilities that would make face coverings and masks detrimental.
The order requires the face masks or coverings to be worn in any indoor location when not consuming food or beverage, outdoors when not able to maintain a distance of six feet or more and when riding a school bus.
ODH’s decision on face shields follows the recommendation issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said “At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.”
Face shields, although not permitted as a substitute for face masks and coverings, may be an option for students, staff or faculty who have an exemption from wearing a face mask or covering, ODH said.
ODH suggested that if a face shield is to be used for exempt individuals, it should be worn on the forehead with no gap, wrap around the sides of the face and extend below the chin.