As mandated by the State of Ohio, Oakwood Schools is required to establish a face covering policy. Oakwood Schools officials have worked with legal counsel and school policy experts to develop the following policy. The District will follow the Ohio Department of Health order requiring face coverings for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
COVID-19 Face Covering Policy
(Approved by Board of Education Aug. 17, 2020)
A mask is a face covering made of any material that covers the wearer’s nose, mouth, and chin simultaneously and is secured to the wearer’s face by elastic, ties, or other means. Acceptable masks may be homemade, and they may be reusable or disposable. Disposable masks must be disposed of at the end of each day. Reusable cloth face coverings must be washed at the end of each day.
A shield is a face covering made of flexible plastic that originates at the forehead with no gap, wraps around the sides of the face and extends below the chin. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against using shields as a substitute for masks, under certain circumstances as set out in this policy, or as determined by the Superintendent, a shield may be worn when a mask cannot be worn.
The Superintendent’s/designee’s interpretation of whether a face covering fits these definitions is final.
School Staff and Other Adults on School Property:
All school staff members must wear a mask at all times while on school property, unless covered by an exception recognized by the Ohio Department of Health. The only general exception to this requirement is when a staff member is alone in an enclosed space, such as an office. “Staff members” is an inclusive term and includes but is not limited to all salaried and hourly Board employees, vendors and contractors engaged in Board business, volunteers, student teachers, and delivery personnel. The District is required to provide local officials with written justification on request when a staff member is not required to wear a mask, so a staff member may be required to answer questions and/or supply documentation as appropriate if he or she requests not to wear a mask. The Superintendent’s/designee’s decision to grant or deny an exception to the wearing of a mask is final. If granted an exception, the staff member may be asked to wear a shield, as deemed appropriate.
Visitors to District Buildings
Visitors are limited. Visitors must wear a mask and will be provided one if necessary. If a visitor cannot wear a mask because of an exception recognized by the Ohio Department of Health, the visitor may be asked to wear a shield instead. If a visitor cannot wear a shield, reasonable arrangements will be made to limit the visitor’s time on school property and interactions with school staff and students while on school property. Visitors who refuse to comply with this policy will be asked to leave District property.
All students from Pre-K through twelfth (12th) grade must wear masks at all times students are on school property or participating in school related activities, as follows:
1. In any indoor location, including but not limited to classrooms, gymnasiums, offices, locker rooms, hallways, cafeteria, and/or locker bays;
2. Outdoors on school property and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of a household;
3. Waiting for school transportation outdoors and unable to maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of a household; or
4. Riding school transportation.
The face covering requirement does not apply when:
1. The student has a medical condition including respiratory conditions that restricts breathing, mental health conditions, or a disability that contraindicates the wearing of a facial covering;
2. The student is seated and actively consuming food or beverage;
3. The individual is communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or has another disability, where an accommodation is necessary and appropriate;
4. The student is actively participating in outdoor recess and/or physical education class where students are able to maintain physical distancing of six feet or more, or athletic practice, scrimmage, or competition that is permitted under an Ohio Department of Health Order;
5. The student is in a classroom in which all students are able to maintain at least six feet of physical distance and removal of the face covering is necessary for instructional purposes, including instruction in a foreign language, English language for non-native speakers, and other subjects where wearing a face covering would prohibit participation in normal classroom activities, such as playing an instrument;
6. The student is engaging in an activity where wearing a face covering would significantly impair the student’s ability to receive necessary services (ex. administration of medication, provision of speech therapy);
7. 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; or
8. When an established sincerely held religious requirement exists that does not permit a mask.
In any situation where a student is unable to wear a mask, increased attention to other measures such as social distancing is imperative.
If a student meets one of the above exceptions to the mask requirement, a shield may be an option.
If a student who is required to wear a face covering does not have one, he or she will be provided an acceptable face covering by a staff member.
Requests for additional exceptions under this section as well as those necessary for students with a medical condition or those requesting exception due to an established sincerely held religious requirement shall be considered by the Superintendent/ designee, who may request documentation justifying the exception.
Students who seek to be exempted from wearing a face covering through their own request or a request made by a parent/guardian for a reason other than those set out above may elect remote learning for the period that face coverings are required in school buildings.
The District will not tolerate harassment of students who are wearing face coverings or those with recognized exemptions to the face covering requirement and will appropriately discipline students or staff who harass or bully students with exemptions or engage in behavior that interferes with any student or staff member’s ability to comply with this policy.
Failure or refusal to wear a face covering by a staff member or student will result in discipline in accordance with other District policies, handbooks, and/or codes of conduct, as applicable. In addition, students who fail or refuse to wear a face covering may be removed from school in accordance with the student code of conduct, and may be assigned by the Superintendent to remote learning. Parents may also choose an alternative educational option, such as home schooling, in accordance with Board policy.
This policy is intended to align with all pre-existing District policies, including but not limited to student and staff dress codes. To the extent that this policy does not so align, this policy will supersede others in accordance with applicable law and regulations in effect at the time. For clarifications on potential conflicts between policies, the interpretation of the Superintendent/designee is final.
The Board authorizes the Superintendent to amend these requirements as necessary to meet federal, state and local guidelines.