MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Masks will be temporarily required inside all Middletown City Schools buildings starting Jan. 5.
The decision was based on updated guidance from the City of Middletown Health Department, according to a press release from the district.
Until Jan. 26, all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks while indoors. The mask requirement will be revisited at the Jan. 24 board of education meeting.
"The district has made this decision due to increased positivity rates and the spread of the COVID-19 Delta and Omicron variant in the community coupled with the substitute teacher shortage," reads the release.
Teachers and staff will provide breaks for students to briefly remove their masks throughout the day and students will not be required to wear masks indoors.
The mask requirement will be revisited at the Jan. 24 board of education meeting.
On Tuesday, when the requirement was announced, Ohio broke its record for COVID-19 hospitalizations for the 6th day in a row. The state reported more than 6,200 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Tuesday alone.
COVID patients in Ohio account for 24.6% of all hospitalizations. They include 1,305 in intensive care and 842 on ventilators.
Ohio reported 20,411 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the 21-day average to 14,101, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health.