TOLEDO, Ohio — Editor's note: The video above initially aired on Jan. 4.
As COVID-19 case counts across the country continue the downward trend, area school districts are starting to relax their masking policies.
The latest district to drop its mandate is Bowling Green City Schools.
Starting Monday, Feb. 14, masks will be "strongly recommended" in district buildings but they will not be required.
Bedford Schools have also dropped mask requirements in their buildings although they are still recommending masks.
Other districts planning to loosen restrictions include Oregon City Schools on Thursday, Feb. 17, and Springfield Local Schools on Friday, Feb. 18.
This comes as COVID-19 trends continue to decline, in both Ohio and across the country. The Ohio Department of Health reported 4,271 new coronavirus cases and 318 new hospitalizations Wednesday.
Total hospitalizations in the state also were reported down Wednesday to 2,863. That's the fewest hospitalizations in Ohio since Sept. 6. Also encouraging was news that intensive-care unit cases were down to 571 with 386 people on ventilators statewide.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend universal masking in schools regardless of vaccination status but leaves the decision to local health departments and school districts.
Here's a look at the masking policy for our other Big 11 school districts.
Masks are required:
- Toledo Public
- Washington Local
Masks are recommended:
- Anthony Wayne
WTOL 11 reached out to the districts whose mandates are still in place to see if they could be changing soon.
District officials said they are continuing to watch the cases in their area and are encouraged by the trends.