COVID-19 Health & Prevention Guidance for Ohio K-12 Schools
As schools get ready for the 2021-22 academic year, the ongoing health and safety of students, staff, and volunteers remains paramount. While great strides have been made in controlling the spread of COVID-19, the virus remains a health threat.
Although children are less likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 compared with adults, they are at risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, getting sick from COVID-19, spreading the virus to others, and having severe health outcomes.
Because children 11 and younger cannot be vaccinated and less than a third of children 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated, it is strongly recommended that schools implement masking for students layered with other prevention strategies to protect people who are not fully vaccinated.
The Delta variant is rapidly becoming dominant in Ohio. It is highly transmissible, increasing risk, especially for those who are unvaccinated. Because the Delta variant spreads so quickly, these strategies to reduce transmission in school are critically important to protect students, teachers, staff, and communities.
Our goal is to keep students back in school, in-person five days a week. Students benefit from in-person learning.
As students head back to school, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) recommends following the same layered prevention strategies that were remarkably effective at controlling COVID-19 last school year:
Strongly recommend vaccinations for staff and eligible students. Vaccines are our best tool to protect students and prevent the spread of the virus.
Wearing masks. Masks have been proven to be extremely effective in slowing the spread of the virus. Ohio researchers conducted an evaluation last year that showed that masking helped control the spread of the virus in Ohio schools. ODH strongly recommends that those who are unvaccinated wear masks while in school.
Additional measures including improving ventilation, maximizing distance between people, and practicing good hygiene, among others.
Consistent implementation of these core prevention measures helped limit the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom during the 2020-21 academic year. Continuing to follow these recommendations will protect students as much as possible.