WELLSTON — This past week, the Wellston City School District decided to move to mandatory facial coverings. The change in policy began on Thursday, Sept. 2.

All students and staff are now required to wear a mask or face shield while in the school buildings as well as on the school buses until further notice.

“Students will not be required to wear a facial covering when participating in outdoor play, recess and physical education activities,” Wellston City Schools Superintendent Karen Boch said.

Boch further explained that positive COVID-19 cases has caused the district’s quarantine numbers to increase drastically because most individuals are not wearing a facial covering.

“Whether you believe masks help or don’t believe masks help, we must take the necessary precautions to slow the spread and prevent quarantines,” Boch added.

Wellston students returned to the classroom on Thursday, Aug. 19.

At that time, face coverings or a face shield were not required but were strongly recommended for all staff and students in times of a pandemic or health-related outbreak, especially if not vaccinated.

That being said, there were times when facial coverings were required such as students and drivers on busses, classrooms or areas when physical distancing cannot be maintained, small-group instruction when a clear barrier is unavailable or when physical distancing of at least three (3) feet cannot be maintained; and at a teacher’s request due to medical or unforeseen circumstances.

The Wellston City School District was closed Friday, Sept. 3, in order to thoroughly “clean and disinfect” the school buildings and buses. This announcement came late Thursday afternoon on Sept. 2. The virus has made its way into each school building.

As of Sept. 7, there are 152 students (63 high school, 24 middle school, 34 intermediate school, and 31 elementary school) and three Wellston High School staff members quarantined, according to the school’s website. As a reminder, “quarantined” refers to anyone who is being isolated due to being exposed to someone with the virus. There are currently 21 students (districtwide) that tested positive for COVID-19, while only two district staff members are sick.

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