CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Board of Education voted Monday to end its mask mandate effective Tuesday, March 8.
Cincinnati Public Schools have required masks since students returned to the classroom in 2021. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its indoor mask guidance for the public and schools in February.
The CDC said it now only recommends universal masking in schools for areas with a "high" level of risk of COVID-19. The majority of Ohio counties, including Hamilton County, are at a "low" risk where indoor masks are not needed.
Board member Mike Moroski noted the policy says students, staff and visitors who test positive for COVID-19 and are allowed to return to school following the required amount of days must wear a mask for 10 days following the positive test. Those who are exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to wear masks as well.
The policy says students who decide to continue wearing masks "are protected from any form of harassment, intimidation or bullying."
District families have had mixed feelings on masks throughout the pandemic, with one CPS grandparent saying she thought it was time to end the requirement.
"There are other schools in Hamilton County that give them the option," said Sandra Christopfel. "If they want to wear a mask, they can wear a mask. If their parents want them to wear a mask, they can wear a mask. But the people who don't believe that it's necessary should have that option to not have to wear the masks."
The board said it will continue to consult with local health department officials. If the county is at a high level of risk, the district could require masks again.
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