Schools begin dropping mask requirements

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 18, 2022

School districts throughout Lawrence County have started to lift requirements that students and staff wear facial coverings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a message released on Monday, Ironton superintendent Joe Geletka said the district’s board of education had elected to make changes to its facial covering protocols.

“Effective Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, the use of facial coverings will be optional for all students, staff, and visitors in our buildings and on our properties,” Geletka said. “However, it is recommended that individuals continue to wear facial coverings in indoor settings. “

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He added that, pursuant to federal guidelines, individuals riding on school transportation are required to wear a facial covering at all times while being transported. Direct contacts, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a facial covering for 10 days if they wish to remain in the classroom setting.

The public is advised to reference the district’s “Mask to Stay/Test to Play” protocol at for information about when facial coverings are required.

He said the district reserves the right to reinstitute a facial covering requirement based on federal, state, or local mandates, and/or for any specific event.

For parent teacher conferences, facial coverings will be required for all parties in attendance.
Ironton was the first school district in Lawrence County to enact mask requirements for the 2021-22 school year.

When classes began in August the district was the only one in the county to have a requirement in place. As case numbers spiked in following weeks, all other districts in the county instituted a similar mandate.

On Friday, Rock Hill Local Schools announced they would also be dropping a mask requirement.

“Effective immediately, Rock Hill Local Schools will be moving their mask mandate from required to strongly recommended, especially for those with underlying health conditions,” a message on the district’s Facebook page read. “We will continue to follow all other protocols in keeping the effects of the COVID-19 virus under control. Masks will still be required on school buses as that continues to be a required state mandate. Be safe.”

On Monday, South Point Local Schools superintendent Mark Christian announced his district was dropping their requirement.

“I just wanted to let everyone know that the board voted to lift the mask mandate for students and staff at South Point Local Schools,” Christian said in a Facebook post. “Starting this Wednesday (2-16-22) masks will be recommended, but not required. Of course we will monitor the results of this decision closely and reevaluate if needed. Please note that masks will still be required on school buses due to state regulations that require masks be worn on public transportation. Thank you all for your patience and cooperation during this challenging time. Hopefully we can start returning to some level of normalcy.”