Earlier today, the CDC updated its guidance regarding masks and other face coverings. For many counties in the state, CDC is no longer requiring universal indoor masking in public settings, including schools. Although masks are no longer required in certain counties, CDC notes that people should wear them if they have symptoms, a positive test result, or exposure to someone with COVID-19.

The new guidance is based on COVID-19 community levels. CDC has produced a map of the United States which shows the COVID-19 community levels for every county in each state. Click on the Ohio map to use the CDC's search tool to determine your county's community level.

(Map updated March 14, 2022.) 

Counties shown as orange have high community levels, yellow counties have medium community levels and green counties have low community levels. Community levels are assigned based on whether the county has had more or fewer than 200 new cases in the past seven days and the number of new admissions and staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients over the same period.

For individuals in counties identified with a low COVID-19 community level (green counties), the new CDC guidance does not require vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals to wear masks. Individuals in counties with medium community levels (yellow counties) are advised to consider wearing masks if they have household or social contact with individuals at high risk for severe disease. In counties with both low and medium community levels, individuals at high-risk of severe illness should they develop COVID-19 are advised to consult with their healthcare providers about mask wearing.

In counties identified with high community levels (orange counties), the CDC guidance is to wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status. This guidance applies to K-12 schools and other indoor community settings.

Regarding buses, CDC guidance now provides: “Effective February 25, 2022, CDC does not require wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs.” CDC explained that it was no longer requiring masks in these settings to align its transportation guidance with its guidance that “no longer recommends universal indoor mask wearing in k-12 schools and early education settings in areas with a low or medium COVID-19 Community Level.” School districts have discretion to choose to require people to wear masks on buses and vans.

OSBA’s division of legal services will continue to monitor CDC guidance and share updated information as it becomes available.

Posted by Jennifer A. Hardin on 2/25/2022