Ontario Schools

According to the plan drafted by the Ohio House Republicans as part of their state budget proposal, Ontario Local School District is one of 93 school districts statewide that would see cuts in its state funding. City taxpayers and parents are urged to contact elected officials and voice their concern about the plan.    

ONTARIO -- Ontario Local Schools is temporarily reinstituting a mask requirement for students and staff after a rash of cases in the district.

The mask requirement will begin Sept. 1 and apply to all indoor settings only. Masks will not be required at outdoor venues or during extra curricular activities.

The changes were announced Tuesday afternoon on the district's website.

"We will closely monitor the COVID-19 situation during the month of September and adjust accordingly based on the prevalence of COVID within our student body and local community," the notice said.

Between the beginning of the school year and Aug. 30, there have been 46 positive student cases. By comparison, there were a total of 61 positive student cases during the 2020-2021 school year.

"At our very core we want our students to be in their classrooms learning from our amazing teachers," the notice read. "While we are doing all that we can to aggressively pursue normalcy, and in-person learning for our students, we must also ensure that we are balancing that goal with what our data, and the medical experts are telling us."

Board member Amy Hiner said the mask requirement is meant to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and keep kids in school.

"Our ultimate goal is to keep kids in the classroom," she said. "We are hopeful that this will help us meet that goal."

Like most Richland County school districts, Ontario did not require students or staff to wear a mask inside school buildings at the start of the school year.

However, Ontario's COVID-19 policies are unique because the district does not require students to quarantine after a close contact.

Update: Ontario will not require students exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine

The board voted to amend policies recommended by school administrators.

"Parents of potentially exposed students will be notified and encouraged to monitor their child for symptoms," the approved policy states. "It will be the parents' decision to quarantine their potentially exposed child."

The school district's COVID reporting dashboard includes 51 total cases in the last three weeks among students and staff. Fifteen cases were at Stingel Elementary, 26 were at Ontario Middle School (23 of them in the sixth grade) and ten at the high school.

Superintendent Lisa Carmichael could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. 

Support Our Journalism

Support journalism that informs, inspires and fosters engagement. Be a Source Member today.

Staff reporter focused on education and features. Clear Fork alumna. Always looking for a chance to practice my Spanish. You can reach me at katie.ellington@richlandsource.com