Over the last few weeks, as more people across the country are getting vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), states, and local governments have revised their guidelines for citizens. School district should also be aware of their city and county health department guidelines. In some cases, local guidelines are more restrictive than either state or federal provisions.
The CDC has issued new guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. According to the new guidelines, a person is fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received a full vaccine dose (either the second of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine). The CDC guidance says that, unless there are contrary federal, state, or local laws, or business or workplace guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals can:
- Resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic.
- Stop wearing a mask.
- Stop physical distancing.
The CDC guidance also says that people who are not fully vaccinated should:
- Continue to follow all previous precautions, including wearing a mask and physical distancing.
- Find a vaccine.
State of Ohio
The Director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued a new order on June 1, 2021, that officially rescinded almost all previous health orders as of 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2021. For schools, this means that guidelines involving masking and social distancing are no longer mandatory. However, each school can continue to require safety measures for its school community. If a district chooses to continue masking, social distancing and other safety measures, it should consult with its legal counsel about how best to implement those measures.
As noted above, local measures can be more restrictive than state or federal guidelines. For example, the City of Columbus Health Department issued new guidelines for public gatherings late in the afternoon on Tuesday, May 25. Unlike the state order, these guidelines do not appear to have an expiration date. For indoor public gatherings, the guidelines are:
- Organizers should establish a plan for gradual increasing attendance from 25% capacity to 100% capacity. (The guidelines do not recommend a time frame other than “gradual.”)
- Organizers should encourage staff, attendees and guests to be fully vaccinated.
- Organizers should encourage staff, attendees and guests to stay home if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Staff, attendees and guests should continue to wear facial coverings and masks whenever possible and must wear them when required by law.
- Staff, attendees and guests should maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet) wherever possible.
- Handwashing and sanitizer stations should be adequate to the size of the venue and number in attendance.
- Organizers should collect guest information to allow for contact tracing if necessary.
- Organizers should post adequate signage and messaging for attendees to follow public health recommendations.
As always, the division of legal services will continue to monitor state and federal sources for updated information and share it as it becomes available. If you have questions, please contact the division at (855) 672-2529.