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Perrysburg joins several other school districts in dropping mask mandate after new guidance from ODH

District officials say they will be able to keep more kids in school and get them back to their learning environment quicker.

Several school districts in our area are now making masks optional for students and staff. 

They say it's in response to the Ohio Department of Health's new guidance on COVID-19 exposure and quarantines. 

The Perrysburg Schools District says it is confident it's a move in the right direction. 

"Two main things have changed. One is that students are now allowed to return to school if they've had an exposure in school and they're not symptomatic. They're allowed to return wearing a mask even if they were not wearing a mask at the time of the exposure," said Sara Stockwell, the Director of Student Services and Well-being for Perrysburg Schools. 

Stockwell says the district made the decision after not only getting new guidance from ODH but also after talking with the Wood County Health Department.

"We've taken this very seriously and we've looked at all kinds of different factors. One of those factors is our own numbers have actually been on a steady decline. So just three weeks ago, we had 31 cases in the district. A week after that it was 21 and this last week I believe we're down to 17," said Stockwell. 

Stockwell says the positive is the district will be able to keep more kids in school and get them back to their learning environment quicker.

And even as we head into the winter months, she says there isn't a fear that things could get worse, because of two things: the vaccine, and students who have immunity after having COVID-19.

"So families who are really uncomfortable with this and feels their child needs specific accommodations, we will certainly pull a team together and work through that together," said Stockwell. 

She says that's because safety is still their number one priority. 

The district will soon also offer a booster shot clinic for staff sometime at the start of next month. 

As for vaccines for the younger children, they say once it's available they'll get that ready to go, too.

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