COVID cases in Ohio are trending upward as schools are preparing to reopen for the upcoming school year. So, what do teachers think need to be done to make sure schools are safe?
Paper? Check. Pencils? Check. Mask? Maybe. The number of COVID-19 cases are rising in recent days and that has left many students, parents and teachers wondering if masks will be part of the school supply shopping list this fall.
The Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper says many schools are now in the process of deciding whether to require masks, how to deal with unvaccinated kids and how to keep them, as well as school staff, safe. And she hopes districts will make teachers part of that process.
“We believe that our teachers should be involved in decision making at a local level,” Cropper says.
Scott DiMauro is the president of the state’s largest teacher’s union, the Ohio Education Association. He says it would be wise for all options to be available, so he says legislation to keep schools from mandating masks should not be in play right now.
“It doesn’t make sense to take tools off the table for schools that would keep students safe," DiMauro says.
Both teachers’ union leaders point out most educators are vaccinated against COVID but many students are not. And students under 12 cannot be vaccinated at this time. The CDC has said kids over 2 who are not vaccinated should wear masks in schools. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends similar guidelines. Gov. Mike DeWine says his administration will issue guidance to schools soon.