As summer comes to an end and Morrow County’s K-12 school year is on the horizon, the Morrow County Health District (MCHD) supports full in-person learning for students.

We believe that schools provide children with a supportive environment in which they can learn and grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally. MCHD wants to see students be able to safely attend school as much as possible throughout the school year.

Our goal is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within schools, so that Morrow County students can stay safe and healthy in the classroom and continue to learn. To accomplish this goal, MCHD strongly recommends that Morrow County schools follow CDC guidance and adopt universal masking policies for all students, teachers, staff, and visitors regardless of their vaccination status.

Although Morrow County did a great job in slowing the spread of the virus in schools last year, the battle against COVID-19 is not over yet. There are different variants of the COVID-19 virus that can be more easily spread from person to person and can cause more severe illness.

Because COVID variants, such as Delta, can spread so quickly, it is important to implement strategies to reduce the spread within our schools so that our students can stay in the classroom.

During the last school year, Morrow County schools used a layered approach to protect our students, teachers, and staff. Frequent hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes continue to be important tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Social distancing, environmental cleaning and sanitizing, and good ventilation are also recommended layers of protection.

We know that masking reduces the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, and wearing masks also help to protect people who are not vaccinated. Since only people aged 12 years and older are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time, a significant number of students are not eligible to be vaccinated yet.

Additionally, only about one-third of Morrow County is currently vaccinated. Universal masking in schools will add another layer of protection to help keep our children safe, healthy, and in school.

Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. MCHD continues to urge all eligible individuals to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Due to the limitations Senate Bill 22 has placed on local public health, these are not orders. They are strong recommendations based in science, and data, and they follow the current CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. The final decision is made by the governing body of each school district.

MCHD continues to work closely with Morrow County schools to monitor the situation and provide updated recommendations as appropriate.

Submitted story

The Morrow County Health District provided information.