Athens city schools are dropping mask requirements next week, citing new CDC guidelines

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Athens City School District announced Monday that masks will become optional beginning next week, which is the start of spring break.

The district also said that individual contract tracing will only be done when “absolutely necessary” and that it will resume field trips on a limited basis.

Superintendent Tom Gibbs wrote in an email that the decision to lift the masking requirement was based on new guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC now recommends mask requirements only when a county has high rates of COVID-19 transmission, which is defined based on a combination of new cases and hospitalizations in the previous week.

As of now, Gibbs wrote, Athens County falls below the CDC’s new threshold. However, he noted that cases may rise as families travel over spring break and return to the Athens area and said the district will revise its policies accordingly.

Gibbs wrote that any student or staff member who wishes to continue wearing a mask can do so. “Harassment based upon a person’s individual choice as to wearing a mask or not will not be tolerated,” he wrote. “It is very important that we each respect the individual choices of those around us.”

Based on updated guidance from the Ohio Department of Health, Gibbs wrote, “individual contact tracing and individual notifications will only occur when absolutely necessary.” Notifications for the most part will be made at the classroom level and the building level.