The Benton-Carroll-Salem School Board was thrown a bit of a curve ball on Saturday, reported Supt. Guy Parmigian. The Ottawa County Health Department and Gov. Mike DeWine’s restart guidance had stated plastic face shields were an acceptable substitute for a cloth mask so long as it covered the nose and mouth. The B-C-S school district had purchased every staff member and student a plastic face shield for those inclined to use one instead of a cloth mask.
A clarification on Saturday was made by the Ohio Department of Health to their K-12 Mask Order that meant the plastic face shields are not a substitute for cloth masks.
There are exceptions to wearing a mask, according to the new guidelines.
Students or staff members who have a medical condition (including respiratory conditions that restrict breathing), mental health conditions, or a disability that makes them unable to safely wear a facial covering or makes wearing one difficult are exempted. The mask exemption form must be completed and a doctor’s note must be provided.
A copy of the exception form is to be completed by a staff member or parent or guardian. This should be returned to School District Nurse Nicole Glaser (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible.
There are several other exceptions to wearing the mask that do not require a doctor’s note. These include:
- When an individual is seated and actively consuming food or drink.
- When an individual is alone in an enclosed space, such as an office. This would also include a classroom when the door is shut.
- When participating in recess or physical education and students are able to maintain a six-foot distance.
- When playing an instrument and students can be at least six feet apart.
- Communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or has another disability.
All students and staff are expected to comply with the new order.