Mask mandates begin as classes start for local schools
More local schools are mandating masks including Lakeview and Warren who have already started the year with their mask mandates.
Boardman announced it will mandate masks when the school year starts.
These mandates come as the Ohio Department of Health warns of rising covid cases coupled with respiratory diseases in kids.
The Warren City Schools superintendent tells 21 News they want to start the school year off on the right foot.
"It was definitely a small group of parents that had concerns regarding the mask mandate that we followed the recommendations of our local health officials," said Steve Chiaro, Warren City Schools Superintendent. "But we know going into this that we're not gonna please everyone, we're just trying to have a strong continuity school for our students," he said.
Chiaro says things are looking pretty good for Warren schools currently with 80 percent of staff vaccinated, so he does not plan to mandate vaccinations among faculty.
He tells 21 News that plan could change, however, depending on what local health officials are saying.
"We feel very strongly that our staff is being responsible, making their own personal decisions on what to do, at a very high rate of vaccination," said Chiaro. "In regards to vaccination of students, at this time we think that's a decision that the parents need to make with their child and with their pediatrician," he said.
State health officials reiterated the importance of vaccines and mask wearing, saying our children are now facing more dangers with other viruses on the rise like respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, parainfluenza viruses and rhinovirus.
"The worst is ahead of us," said Chief Medical Officer at the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. "On top of this wave of winter pediatric resperatory viruses based on the patterns seen elsewhere, we can expect further increases in covid-19 case rates driven by the highly contagious, dangerous delta variant," he said.
Vanderhoff says preventative measures like getting vaccinated, keeping a safe distance and mask wearing are the only ways to protect your children, especially when some of them are not yet eligible for a vaccine.