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DeWine Orders Masks For Students, Announces Former ODH Director Acton's Departure

Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a baggie with homemade masks at a press conference in April. He encouraged people to start wearing masks then, but they weren't required until a statewide order in July.
Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a baggie with homemade masks at a press conference in April. He encouraged people to start wearing masks then, but they weren't required until a statewide order in July.

COVID-19 cases and deaths inched up in Ohio after three days of declines. And Gov. Mike DeWine has new instructions to prevent community spread in the next few weeks for kids going to back to class, because he says that will determine when school can return to a regular schedule.

DeWine said all students going back to in-person instruction, with a few exceptions, must wear masks at school – like teachers and staffers were told they must in a previous order last month.

“Any adult who works there and all the kids – we want them to have as safe an environment as possible," DeWine said.

There are some exceptions for students - for instance, kids who can't remove masks without assistance, or those with significant behavioral or psychological issues, such as those with severe anxiety or living with extreme autism or developmental delays.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency will distribute two million masks to schools. But DeWine said he’s not considering a statewide order to close school buildings.

DeWine also said the state is still working with the Ohio High School Athletic Association on how to have games and not just scrimmages. High school sports officials had asked for changes in that order, which requires mandatory testing of students and coaches, and doesn't permit parents to attend games.

DeWine also announced that former state health director Amy Acton, who resigned in June after weeks of protests and threats, will leave the advisory position he appointed her to and return to a non-profit foundation.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.