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DeWine: Face shields not a substitute for masks

Governor says state will follow federal guidelines as schools reopen

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Saturday that the state will be prohibiting the use of face shields as a substitute for masks and facial covering when schools resume from COVID-19 closures.

“As schools get ready to start the new academic year, the Ohio Department of Health is following federal guidance and prohibiting the use of face shields as a substitute for face coverings/masks,” DeWine said in a post on Twitter.

Initially, the state has said face shields could be used as a substitute, in the guidelines issued to school districts earlier this summer.

The state department of health said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends against face shields as substitutes.

“The use of masks or face coverings is intended to reduce the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer into the environment, onto another person, or onto a surface,” a message of the DOH website read. “The mask or cloth face covering should cover the nose, mouth, and chin with little to no gap.”

According to the CDC, “At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.”

Ohio is requiring all K-12 students and faculty to wear masks when schools resume in-person learning. Exemptions include individuals with medical conditions, when eating or drinking, and when playing at recess. The CDC said some situations, such as when lip reading is needed, may require an alternative to masks.