BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — The mask mandate policy in Maumee City Schools is changing to a mask-optional status. There is an exception, however, for students with a COVID-19 exposure that occurs during the school day or at a school-related activity, in which case masks and testing will be required.
The new policy takes effect on Monday, November 1.
Superintendent Dr. Todd Cramer discussed the policy changes at the October 25 school board meeting.
“The most significant factors in our decision to implement masks in the beginning of the year were looking at the quarantine rules, looking at the loss of instructional time and continuity of education,” he said.
Cramer cited declining COVID cases and alternatives to the COVID-19 quarantine requirements for schools as prompts for the policy changes. The new quarantine guidelines call for “Mask to Stay” and “Test to Play” policies.
The Mask to Stay policy allows students to remain in school if an exposure occurs in a school setting as long as the student wears a mask and continues to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, if the exposed student tests negative for the virus between five and seven days from the exposure, he or she will no longer need to wear a mask.
Students who are exposed to the virus in a school setting may continue to participate in extracurricular activities through the Test to Play policy as long as that student continues to wear a mask and undergo testing. The first test is needed at the time of initial exposure to the virus and a second test is needed five to seven days after exposure. If both tests are negative, then that student will test out of quarantine.
In both situations, the tests must be a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or a proctored antigen test.
“I see both of these as very viable options for our school district in benefiting our students,” Cramer said. “These measures allow us to keep our kids in the classroom, which has always been our goal.”
If a student is exposed outside of school, he or she will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
The Ohio Department of Health gave school districts across the state COVID-19 proctored antigen test kits, which are available to parents. The school district does not administer any COVID-19 testing. Decisions regarding testing are made at the sole discretion of parents, according to a statement from the district.
For students riding the bus, a federal mask mandate will remain in place through January 18, 2022.
Masks are still strongly encouraged for anyone in need of extra protection from the virus.
Some parents on hand at the board meeting spoke against the policy that requires masks, vaccination and testing of any kind. In addition, several parents presented school board members with sworn affidavits challenging the requirement of the mask mandates, testing and vaccinations.