Masks now optional in Xenia schools

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

XENIA — Xenia Community Schools will no longer require masks for students and staff.

Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton made the announcement Tuesday.

“In our area and across the state, the numbers of active cases are trending in the right direction, allowing us to make this move,” Lofton said. “As I have often stated throughout the past two years, we will pivot toward more protections when the situation warrants, but we will also ease up on those precautions as the situation continues to evolve.”

District officials said they will continue to gather data and adjust protocols as needed, tracking active exposures in compliance with the Mask to Stay, Test to Play guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health, and following the best guidance of public health experts.

This protocol change does not impact those who fall under those ODH guidelines, or provide any exemption from mask requirements of any public health or other legal authority having jurisdiction. Anyone who has been exposed to COVID must continue to follow the protocol to stay in school, including consistently and properly wearing a mask to keep others safe.

“I understand that many members of our community will have mixed feelings about this change, and that is entirely understandable,” Lofton said. “Like schools across the country, we are learning to manage COVID in ways we could not have imagined even a year ago, essentially finding ways to live with it long-term as safely as possible.”

Lofton said students and staff who choose to continue wearing masks are encouraged to do so. In addition, every member of the school community is being asked to continue taking precautions that prevent the spread of COVID, as well as many other contagious illnesses that interrupt day-to-day learning.

“One of the best ways we can continue to care for one another is to take the common-sense precautions that have always been in place for schools,” Lofton said . “Wash your hands, keep areas clean and disinfected, and — perhaps most importantly — stay home when you are sick.”

The mask mandate was discussed during January’s school board meeting. President Joshua Day expressed interest in removing the mandate at that time but no decision was made.

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.