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Summit County Issues Health Order for Junior High and Middle Schools

Michelle Deininger

Summit County has issued a new public health order that sets a threshold for requiring face coverings at all public and private middle schools and junior highs in the county.


The standard for a mask mandate expands to higher grade levels what the county has already ordered for elementary schools.


Under the Order of Constraint, dated Sept 23rd,  signed by County Manager Tom Fisher and County Health Director Phil Bondurant, face coverings will be required if an individual junior high or middle-school campus reaches a 2 percent 14-day positivity rate among the total population of students, faculty and staff.


The order goes into effect as of 12:01 Monday morning the 27th, and will remain in effect for the term of the county’s Local Public Health Emergency which extends to December 31st.


The Order does not apply to high schools.


The two percent metric was set for Summit County’s elementary schools on August 25th. The county reports that currently none of the elementary campuses have hit that threshold.


But at this time, no vaccine has been allowed for students 5 to 11. Dr. Bondurant said that as they watch other middle schools and junior highs state-wide, there is a credible threat of increased COVID-19 transmission in schools where there is an overlap of students who are eligible for a vaccine, and students who are ineligible.


Summit County Council Chair Glenn Wright said the council is encouraged by recent case counts in the schools but felt additional measures were needed as they wait for vaccines for youngsters 5 to 11 years old.


The Health Department said it is anticipating a vaccine for that group will be approved before Thanksgiving. It is also planning clinics for students and booster shots for individuals 65 and older.