Masks Required for K-5

Masks Required for Elementary Students While Indoors
Posted on 08/25/2021
UPDATE 8/26/21: Mask exemption form available. Learn more.

Letter from the Superintendent

As we have talked about many times over the past 18 months, our goal has always been to keep students learning together in person, keeping focus on both academic success and the social-emotional wellness of students that comes from working together in classrooms, interacting with teachers and staff, and participating in extra-curricular activities. However, the safety and well-being of our community must continue to be our top priority.

Last week, Governor DeWine's press conference made it clear that the threat of new variants of the COVID-19 virus is incredibly serious, and that parents and school districts are being asked to do everything we can to reduce the spread of the virus by keeping it out of our classrooms.

In short, Governor DeWine stated that the best way to ensure that children can remain in school is for them to be vaccinated. If they cannot be vaccinated, they should wear a mask. He added that without doing something to stop the virus, the number of students that have to quarantine and be out of school for extended periods will dramatically increase, while the number of schools that can continue in person will dramatically decrease.

As noted in earlier communications and on our website, our health and safety guidelines are subject to change based on direction from the state, and that is what we are doing today. Effective Monday, August 30, the district will begin requiring masks while indoors for K-5 students in our elementary buildings.

Note that this restriction does not apply while at recess or when students are outdoors. In addition, teachers will offer regular mask breaks during the day at their own discretion.

For students who are eligible and have not received the vaccine, I strongly encourage parents to consider that option. If you choose not to vaccinate your students, I would ask that those older students at Warner Middle School and Xenia High School not currently subject to this change in protocol also wear masks while indoors and in close proximity to others.

As a reminder, masks are required for students of all ages on buses, and students are encouraged to arrive at their bus stop each day with a mask, ready for the ride to school. This protocol is a federal guideline for all public transportation, and is not optional.

What I am asking of you at this time is to help us take care of one another by doing what you can to reduce both the spread of the virus and the potential for extended quarantines.

It is my hope that we will be able to keep this protocol in place for a limited time, and be able to return to optional masks soon — but that largely depends on how well the spread of the COVID-19 variants is managed in the coming weeks. It is our intention to actively reassess the protocol at the six-week mark, although change could come sooner or later than that as the situation unfolds.

I know that none of this is welcome news. I know that we would all prefer a return to the more normal year that we planned for so hopefully throughout the summer months. However, that is not possible given the quick acceleration of transmission rates at this time.

As always, I ask for your patience and understanding as we navigate the course ahead together.

Dr. Gabriel Lofton, Superintendent