LIMA — The Lima school board on Monday night adopted a mandatory mask policy for staff and students.
A previously announced policy indicated masks would be required on buses and in high traffic areas of the school, such as in the hallways as students move from class to class.
Gov. Mike DeWine’s mandatory mask order across the state is forcing the school board to make some changes ahead of the start of classes. Even these changes could be changed before school starts on Aug. 12.
“All students in grades 3 through 12 will be required to wear a mask or face covering all day long, not just in high traffic areas,” said Jill Ackerman, Lima schools superintendent.
Ackerman says it’s because of two things.
“One would be the governor’s order for masking, and the second one is because Allen County is at the Red Alert level,” Ackerman said.
Those being transported will also have to wear a mask.
“It will be mandatory for all kids riding a school bus to have a mask or a face shield on,” Ackerman said.
Each student will be given two washable masks, and the smaller kids will be given a face shield they’ll be able to reuse.
The mandatory mask policy is contingent on how the COVID-19 pandemic is going.
“What the policy will say is that as long as there’s a governor’s order, or we’re red or purple, it’ll be mandatory, but if we move down to orange or yellow and the governor lifts his order, then we would revert back to masks in the high traffic areas,” Ackerman said.
The new policy also limits what kind of designs are on the masks. The masks and face coverings are not permitted to display a reference to drug or sexual innuendos, inappropriate language, alcohol, tobacco products, violence, weapons or gang connotations or cause any disruption, such as it can’t have flashing LED lights.
“There are some out there now that have maybe a marijuana leaf on it,” Ackerman said.
Ackerman also discussed a problem with getting Chromebooks to every student.
“Right now, our biggest dilemma is our Chromebook order. There’s something that came out today that (the United States Department of Commerce) sanctioning some companies out of China (specifically Lenovo, which makes the Chromebooks),” Ackerman said. “So our Chromebooks are going to be on backorder until mid-October. So we’re going to be servicing our online learners first with the 650 (Chromebooks) that we had from the spring. It may have to be kids sharing them at home for a while until we get that shipment in.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.