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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine changes rules on face shields, ruling no longer a substitute

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine clarified the Ohio Department of Health order requiring all students and staff to wear facial coverings in Ohio schools. On Saturday morning, the governor said face shields will not be considered as a substitute to wearing a face mask/covering. The Jackson Local School District has to follow the Ohio Department of Health orders.

Based on the latest information from Gov. DeWine, face shields will NOT be an acceptable face covering during the school day unless a student has a medical waiver approved by the superintendent's office. Plans for reopening schools must be fluid and when changes are made, the district must be able to adjust.

We understand many families have purchased face shields already. Shields along with a mask provide an extra layer of protection. We recommend keeping the face shields. As research and science evolve around COVID-19 and protections against it, orders might change as well.

There are some exceptions to wearing a face covering for students and wearing a face shield in these circumstances would be acceptable. Here are the exceptions to wearing a face mask in the ODH order:

a. The individual has a medical condition including respiratory conditions that restricts breathing, mental health conditions, or a disability that contraindicates the wearing of a facial covering; or

b. The individual is communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or has another disability, where an accommodation is appropriate or necessary;

c. The individual is actively participating in outdoor recess and/or physical activity where students are able to maintain a distance of six feet or more or athletic practice, scrimmage, or competition that is permitted under a separate Department of Health Order;

d. The individual is seated and actively consuming food or beverage;

e. Where students and staff can maintain distancing of at least six feet and removal of the facial covering is necessary for instructional purposes, including instruction in a foreign language, English language for non-native speakers, and other subjects where wearing a facial covering would prohibit participation in normal classroom activities, such as playing an instrument;

f. Students are able to maintain a distance of six feet or more and a mask break is deemed necessary by the educator supervising the educational setting;

g. The individual is alone in an enclosed space. such as an office; or

h. When an established sincerely held religious requirement exists that does not permit a facial covering.

You can read the Ohio Department of Health's FAQs on face shields here. You can read the complete order requiring facial coverings/masks for all K-12 students here. More information on Jackson Local's face-covering policy and FAQ can be found here.

*** Medical waivers from a family physician must be submitted in person to the superintendent at Central Office located at 7602 Fulton Drive NW.

*** According to the ODH order, "a facial covering (mask) is any material that covers an individual's nose, mouth, and chin."