Here’s how schools are reacting to new CDC mask rules

Some states and districts make masks optional for staff and students while others maintain COVID mandates
By: | May 14, 2021
Schools districts have split over mask mandates for the rest of this school year, with many more hoping masks will be option in 2021-22.Schools districts have split over mask mandates for the rest of this school year, with many more hoping masks will be option in 2021-22.

Superintendents and entire states reacted quickly this week, adjusting masking rules for schools after the CDC said fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear them.

With one week left of classes in Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox announced Thursday that masks are no longer required in schoolsThe Deseret News reported.

Superintendents across the state had asked for an end to the mandate, though districts can choose to continue to require masks, according to The Desert News. 

Cox also said he was considering creating incentives to convince the state’s residents to get vaccinated, The Desert News said.

In Minnesota, as in several other states, the state’s mask mandate ended Friday. But that change doesn’t extend to Minnesota’s schools, the Pioneer Press reported.

Education Commissioner Heather Mueller said everyone must wear masks and social distance in schools through the rest of the school year, according to the Pioneer Press. 

And in Washington, the state’s department of health said that staff, students and others will have to wear masks and social distance during summer school and the beginning of next school year.

Over the last several weeks, districts across the country had already begun loosening masking rules for students and staff.

One of the most immediate reactions to the CDC’s latest announcement came from Cobb County School District Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, who allowed fully vaccinated people in his Georiga district to stop wearing masks.

“I would also like to make clear that any individual wishing to continue wearing a mask while attending school and/or school events should feel free to do so,” Ragsdale wrote on the district’s website.

He also said he expects masks will be optional when the 2021-2022 school year starts.