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About 400 forms filed for mask exemption

Almost as many Warren County School District students have filed paperwork to not have to wear masks in school as have been denied entry due to close brushes with COVID-19.

As of Friday, Superintendent Amy Stewart reported that about 400 students — about one-tenth of the student body– had turned in at least some of the paperwork required for those seeking exemption from the Department of Health’s statewide school mask mandate.

The district now requires a form, approved by the school board on Monday, and a waiver, crafted later in the week, as part of the mask exemption packet.

There are separate materials for staff who would like to be exempt.

The student documents require signatures from parents, not medical professionals, per the board’s action.

Also as of Friday, there had been 50 positive cases within the district and 434 students had been denied entry — quarantined — due to close contacts.

Stewart has said there are several situations that could require the closing of schools, not all of them from some measurable number of district cases.

If too many teachers, cafeteria workers, custodians, or other personnel are not available at a school on a given day, that school could have to close.

If there are not sufficient bus drivers to transport students to school, that could result in closure.

And, if the district cannot keep up with contact tracing, it would have to shut down operations in the affected schools.

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