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Masks required in all Barberton school buildings

Bob Morehead

Herald Staff Writer

Everyone in a Barberton school building after Labor Day will have to be wearing a mask.

That was the decision of Superintendent Jeffrey Ramnytz, backed by the informal assent of the board.

Masks will only be required indoors and students will be given regular mask breaks, just like last year, Ramnytz said.

Ramnytz made the recommendation at a special “board retreat” Sept. 2. The gathering was billed as a special meeting and advance notice said board action may be taken. However, since a mask mandate was not specifically on the agenda, the board declined to give Ramnytz a formal vote that night, promising to do so at the board’s next meeting Sept. 13 at East Elementary School.

Board policy allows the superintendent to make health decisions like this unilaterally so the order was issued in an all-call that night immediately following the meeting.

All five board members that night, though, expressed their support for the mandate.

“We’re trying to educate kids,” board member Tom Harnden said. “We can’t educate them if they’re not in school.”

Prior to his recommendation, Ramnytz shared his data with the board.

“School has been in session for 11 days and we’re not doing too bad right now,” Ramnytz said. “So far, we’ve had nine students and four staff who’ve tested positive (for COVID-19).”

He said these 13 cases led to 58 contacts, 38 of whom had to quarantine. Six contacts had been masked and 14 vaccinated; these did not require quarantining.

“More and more districts are going to masks,” Ramnytz said. “Some are real hot spots. We are OK now, but that could change tomorrow.”

He referred to “a district up the road” that was especially bad. Although he didn’t name it, Wadsworth called a special meeting earlier in the week after recording 45 positive cases in the district’s first week back in school.

“My biggest fear is we have a situation like we had a couple years ago where students missed their prom and their graduation and other things every student should be able to do,” Ramnytz said. “I don’t think Barberton’s kids can do another year of remote.”

Ramnytz said a mask requirement was a small way the district could ensure the kids are able to remain in classrooms.

“I’d like to see the kids make a little sacrifice and stay in school,” board member Shawna Angeloff said.

“We have to put the health of the child first,” board President Dave Polacek said.

The board will revisit the policy at its Oct. 13 meeting, after seeing how the pandemic is doing at that time.

Ramnytz added that the district’s vaccinations of kids 12 and older is still “on the table”; 14 more are currently needed to field another clinic.

“And as soon as a vaccine is approved for the younger children, well get our partners, Discount Drug Mart, right in here and do that,” Ramnytz said.

Leave your comments about the mask mandate and the decision of the Barberton School Board by calling the Herald Viewsline 234-200-6961.


  1. Hairy V on September 13, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    You should trade in your mask for a plastic bag ya sheep

  2. Gary V on September 11, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    When you arm a bunch of idiots like Jim Cuckler with a powerful tool like the internet this is the repercussions. These idiots, who mostly get their news off of Facebook and Instagram, will find one idiot “scientist” (looking for fame and attention) who says something so dumb like masks will actually harm you and ignore the other 50,000 credible scientists who say the exact opposite and then call the guy next to him a sheep or go “go do your research.” These morons used to live in the shadows of their communities because anyone who actually knew these people knew they were morons but now these idiots have the internet and it’s given them not only a voice but a way to connect with each other. Only thing more dangerous than an idiot is an idiot who thinks he’s smart and that’s what we have here. Now they all live in an echo chamber created by themselves and the rest of these fools. God bless the USA…

  3. Super-In-Tent-it on September 9, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Take Religion out of the schools and replace with Politics. USA, USA, USA….

  4. Unreal on September 8, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    Monkey see, monkey doo . What a shame for these students. What a shame for the city. No masks in student section at football game. or locker room. or concession stand. or band section. or parade. or tent at rib festival. or lunch time. Giving in to the crooked Government. awful

  5. Martin Williams on September 3, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    I contacted Jeffrey Ramnytz the superintendent this morning and spoke with him personally over the phone. This man was sp rude and ignorant to me. I was trying to explain that my children have health issues that prevent wearing a mask and my wife and I both work full time and cannot homeschool the kids. He flat out said they will not be allowed into the building without a mask regardless of health issues and then rudely hung up on me

  6. Jim Haskell on September 3, 2021 at 8:03 am

    Proof that we need to return to masking; distancing; enhanced sanitation; vaccination.

    Every county in Ohio has highest level of coronavirus transmission.
    Summit County was at a 7 day average of 45 at the start of August.
    Summit Count was at a 7 day average of 153 at the end.

    Even one more soul (young or old) added to the statistics is not acceptable.

  7. Pro Vax on September 3, 2021 at 5:57 am

    While I support the mask mandate which the schools have come up with I feel even more convinced that the COVID vaccine should be mandated for children over 12 in order that they may attend school. We mandate such things as mumps and measles shots so where is the problem? Let’s remember that the masks also have the beneficial side effect of preventing the flu which can be a nasty thing to contract. If things are ever to return to normal we have to get on board with the science and beat this thing. My wife works for the school system and daily we get recorded phone messages from the Superintendent and the Principal saying that more cases are reported for this or that school. Our President has begged all to get their shot. Let’s be patriotic and listen to his common sense advice.

  8. Fear on September 2, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    Just opt to home school. Masks do more damage than good. You guys are hyping this up.

  9. Jim Cuckler on September 2, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    What a total cop-out. There is no proof that masks do anything but harm children. In fact, the science that they are blatantly not citing says that the virus does not have the effect on children this age that it has on adults. If you want to mask someone, mask the teachers and administrators. Leave the students alone to learn in peace.

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