GALION — Galion City Schools is working to create a “mask-friendly” atmosphere for everyone who visits the district’s facilities this academic year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued guidelines that recommended that school districts require students and staff members to wear face masks in an effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health made the same recommendation, but has stopped short of issuing a mandate.
Superintendent Jennifer Allerding said the district’s return and reset policy for the 2021-2022 school year does not require students, staff, and visitors to campus to wear face masks.
“Students and families or community members that come on our campus or come to our games have the option of wearing a mask,” Allerding said in an informational video posted to the Galion City Schools Facebook page. “We’re going to leave it up to our families to make decisions that are best for themselves and for their children.”
Allerding described what being “mask-friendly” looks like for the Galion City Schools community. She noted that while masks are not required, there are some people who have decided to continue to wear masks when in public and called for people to be understanding and respectful of each other’s choices.
“When I talk about being a mask-friendly district, I associate that with being something very positive,” Allerding said. “We always want to create situations on our campus that are positive for students. So when we talk about being mask-friendly, I just want to remind all of our students, remind everyone who comes on our campus, that obviously some students and staff will choose to wear a mask, some will not. I think it’s important to remember that everyone has their own particular reason why they’re choosing to wear a mask.
“I think that’s important that we keep that in mind, that we be respectful to one another and those opinions and those choices that they’re making because, again, we want to create a collaborative, positive experience for everyone that’s here at Galion City Schools, whether you choose to mask or not.”
Allerding said the district’s overall return and reset plan included discussions with staff at each building to determine what works best for each school’s population.
“Obviously, things are going to look a lot different at the primary school with kindergarteners as opposed to the high school with seniors,” Allerding said. “Some of the things just to share with you that are going to be very similar to what we did last year, and I think that a lot of people are comfortable with, is the hand-washing throughout the day, the disinfecting that’s taking place, the sanitization. Those elements will still continue to stay in place. Our elementary classrooms will have dividers up. They’re clear so teachers can see through those in the classrooms.
“Another example would be the water bottle filling stations for the water fountains,” she added. “So students will be permitted to bring water bottles again this year. It worked really great last year. We’re going to be adding more of those to our schools. Those are some the things that we implemented last year that worked really well that we’re going to keep in place for the upcoming school year.”
Allerding said the return and reset plans and the individual building plans will be available on the district website www.galionschools.org. The 2021-2022 school year begins Thursday, Aug. 19.
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