Central Ohio schools begin unmasking again
A "freedom convoy" of protesters planned to circle the Gahanna-Jefferson administrative offices today to pressure officials to drop a student mask mandate.
- Turns out they didn't need to.
What's happening: As of Thursday, officials at the Gahanna-Jefferson school district made wearing masks optional — and most other central Ohio districts are doing the same.
- As the Omicron variant wanes, educators are feeling the pressure to join in another "great unmasking," as Axios' Tina Reed calls it.
Why it matters: Nearly two years into the pandemic, masks remain a polarizing topic in schools. Politics play a big role in area policies, which have tended to be more reactive to COVID-19 surges than proactive.
State of play: Mandates are dropping in a domino effect.
- South-Western ended its requirement today.
- Dublin and Westerville will Tuesday.
- Upper Arlington does Feb. 28.
Yes, but: Columbus City Schools, the first district to announce a mask mandate for all students last summer, has no plans to change its policy, spokesperson Jacqueline Bryant tells Axios.
What they're saying: "The superintendent has followed the guidance of our local health officials," and that advice hasn't changed, Bryant says.
Meanwhile, the city of Columbus and a handful of suburbs announced Wednesday they'll likely be lifting mask mandates for public spaces soon.
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