Galion City Schools institutes temporary mask mandate

By Andrew Carter - [email protected]

GALION — Galion City Schools has instituted a temporary mask mandate due to a recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Superintendent Jennifer Allerding made the announcement about the temporary mandate in a video posted to the district’s Facebook page on Friday, Sept. 24. The temporary mask mandate goes into effect on Monday, Sept. 27, Allerding said. She said the mask mandate will be lifted when the number of cases decreases.

Allerding said students, staff members, and visitors will be required to wear masks while indoors on campus while the mandate is in effect.

Masks will not be required “during lunch, while participating in physical education classes, during athletic competition, or while attending outdoor voluntary activities and events. Breaks will also be permitted when social distancing is in place and under the direction of our staff as we did last year,” Allerding said.

“Since our last (video) update, our cases of COVID-19 in the district have continued to climb,” Allerding noted in the video. “While an increase in cases was expected, the large number that we have been experiencing recently is concerning to me as your superintendent. To gain a good comparison, last year for the entire 2020-2021 school year, we had a grand total of 43 cases. We have already surpassed last year’s total in just the first seven weeks of school this year.”

According to the most recent information posted to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard on Sept. 24, there have been 52 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since the new school year began on Aug. 19. Currently, there are 31 active cases of COVID-19 in Galion City Schools, according to the dashboard.

Of the total number of cases reported thus far this school year, 23 have been at the high school, 9 have been at the middle school, 8 at the intermediate school, 11 at the primary school, and 1 for a staff member not assigned to a particular building. That information is also listed on the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, which can be viewed under the “News & Information” tab on the district website

Allerding said 21 active cases were reported in the district last week alone.

The increase in the school district reflects the increase in the number of cases recently within the community. According to the most recent COVID-19 case report from the Galion City Health Department, released Sept. 24, there are 100 active cases of COVID-19 in Galion. One person is currently hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19. According to the previous report, released on Sept. 14, there were 60 active cases.

Allerding said the increased number of cases in the school district has led to some activities being canceled or postponed.

“Recently, we have had to suspend high school athletic competition … and we’ve had to postpone our most anticipated pep rally,” Allerding said. “The numbers of positive cases and quarantines are impacting how we operate and the events and activities we want to provide our students. These are the things that add to the value of our students’ educational experience — the things that they remember. I believe it is important for our students to have these experiences, spend time with their friends, and make memories.

“I want our high school students to have a homecoming (the weekend of Oct. 14-16). I want our students to perform in concerts at the beginning of October. I want our athletes to compete and I want our students to laugh and learn in the classrooms with teachers that care about them. At the end of the day, that is what is important.”

By Andrew Carter

[email protected]

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