OFT President Cropper: Keep Ohio Schools Open by Mandating Masks

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September 2, 2021

Neil Bhaerman, 412-266-4899, nbhaerman@oft-aft.org

OFT President Cropper: Keep Ohio Schools Open by Mandating Masks]

COLUMBUS — In schools all throughout Ohio*, there have been widespread incidents where students, teachers, and staff have needed to stay home from school either because they have contracted COVID-19 or because they must quarantine due to close contact with someone who has COVID-19. 

Currently, CDC guidance recommends universal mask wearing in K-12 school settings and the Ohio Department of Health’s policy exempts students and staff from needing to quarantine if masks had been worn. Yesterday, Governor DeWine announced a pilot program that will exempt students from being quarantined, regardless of whether masks or other mitigation efforts are in place. 

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper released the following statement in response:

“The safety and education of our students is our highest priority. We haven’t even passed Labor Day and we already have thousands of Ohio students, teachers, and staff who have missed school due to COVID-19 infection or exposure. This has already led to school closures in multiple school districts. 

We need to keep our students in the classroom, and the best way to do that is with a statewide mask mandate. 

We’re disappointed and outraged at Governor DeWine’s latest action. When the Governor realized that schools are unable to stay open due to COVID-19 exposure and quarantine guidelines, he decided to initiate a pilot program aimed at relaxing the quarantine policy rather than take action to reduce exposure to COVID-19. We shouldn’t be jumping through hoops to avoid common sense protections against this deadly disease. 

It’s time for Governor DeWine to be a leader, protect our students, and keep our schools open by requiring masks in K-12 schools statewide.”


*Hundreds of central Ohio students in quarantine as doctors urge mask mandates in schools
Schools temporarily closing, others quarantining hundreds of students due to COVID-19 illnesses
Sandusky schools go remote, Athens schools cancel class as COVID-19 spreads among faculty and staff
More than 500 students in quarantine after 77 COVID cases in Wadsworth schools



The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is composed of 54 local unions representing 20,000 members who are active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, and public employees. OFT works to advance quality education and a voice in the workplace for Ohio’s education professionals. OFT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.