Just days after Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed HB 244, banning colleges and public schools from forcing students to take the COVID-19 vaccine, one Ohio lawmaker wants to ban mask mandates in public schools too.
“Senate Bill 209, introduced by state Sen. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, is unlikely to impact school districts’ decisions for the fall, as lawmakers are on break until after most schools return to class,” News 5 reported. “SB 209 would prohibit the state school board, the Ohio Department of Education or individual school districts’ boards of education from requiring anyone to wear facial coverings in a public education setting.”
Brenner was an outspoken advocate for HB 244, and celebrated its passage last week.
“Parents, in consultation with their personal doctors, have the right to make decisions about their children especially for vaccinations that are not fully approved by the FDA,” he said at the time. “This is about personal rights.”
That bill is only effective as long as the COVID-19 vaccines, made by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, are fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Right now, the vaccines are approved only for emergency use.
Though SB 209 is unlikely to become law before the new school year begins, it is representative of an Ohio legislature that appears ready to move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeWine has been less enthusiastic than his Republican counterparts in the legislature when it comes to vaccine choice. In June, he refused to sign a bill that would have imposed a blanket ban on vaccine passports. Many Republican governors had already banned vaccine passports at that time.
But SB 209 also addresses mask mandates by private businesses.
It requires signage to be posted “in a conspicuous place,” and also must “state that an exemption to the requirement exists for individuals that have a documented medical condition that contraindicates the wearing of a facial covering”
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