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Boardman schools modify police to masks optional

BOARDMAN — The Boardman Local School District is modifying its controversial mask policy to “optional, but strongly recommended.”

In letter to families and staff, Superintendent Tim Saxton wrote, “Based on the most recent COVID-19 trend data both locally and within our district buildings, as well as recent changes in quarantine and contact tracing guidelines by the Ohio Department of Health, Boardman Schools will modify its mandatory mask policy upon return from the Presidents Day break.

“Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 22, masks will be strongly recommended but no longer mandatory inside our buildings during the school day.”

Masks remain required for students and staff while on board all school busses and vans, per federal guidelines, Saxton said.

In October, a group of parents filed a lawsuit against the school district, demanding that the requirement to wear masks be dropped. They claimed that the school system did not have the authority to impose it and the policy is unconstitutional and unreasonable.

On Thursday, Saxton said the district now is ready to modify the policy.

“Boardman Schools saw its largest number of COVID positive cases this January with 90 active cases across our six buildings during the week of Jan. 16,” Saxton wrote. “As of today, this week’s positive COVID case number is five students, one staff member.

“COVID-19 data continues to show a rapid decrease in the rate of transmission both in Boardman’s main ZIP code area and within our individual school buildings,” he wrote.

“Due to the low number of cases, the availability of the vaccine and the option to continue to wear a face mask, Boardman Local Schools will revise its mask policy to optional but strongly recommended on Feb. 22, 2022,” he wrote. “I greatly appreciate your patience and support as we have worked to make this school year successful and safe.”

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