The Ohio Education Association released a statement on Wednesday calling for mask guidelines in school that “follow the science.”

However, in a seemingly contradictory move, recent mandates put in place by Columbus Public Schools will require all students to wear a mask this fall.

“Educators want nothing more than to return to full, in-person instruction this fall. But we want to make sure that when we do, we do so safely for our kids and communities. The best way to ensure a safe return to in-person learning this fall is to follow the science and listen to the medical experts. We can’t let politicians substitute their political ambitions for public safety when our kids’ health and safety are at stake,” Ohio Education Association President Scott Di Mauro said.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that the risk of transmitting COVID-19 during in-person learning is low. Additionally, students aged 12 and up are eligible for vaccination throughout the state.

In a move that seemingly ignores the science demonstrated in previous studies, Columbus Public Schools claim the decision to require masks will provide an “extra layer of protection.”

“Safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall is a priority, and masks provide an extra layer of protection in reducing transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” Superintendent Talisa Dixon said Wednesday in a news release. “Throughout this pandemic, we have relied on the guidance of our public health officials. We feel that this was the best decision for our district and community.”

Furthermore, the school board will not permit the use of water fountains throughout buildings. Students must remain separated by 3 feet when possible, and visitors will be restricted. Sports activities, practices and extracurricular activities also will follow the health and safety guidelines.

“Local decisions about mask wearing need to make based on science and not politics. These decisions should be made solely in the best interest of protecting the health of educators, students and their families,” claimed Di Mauro

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for the Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]