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With the kids going back to full-time school in the next few weeks while the Delta variant of COVID-19 surges, many parents wonder whether their children will have to wear a mask.
In that sense, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published new guidelines for K-12 schools, which recommends universal internal masking for all students (from 2 years of age) regardless of vaccination status. However, despite CDC guidance, some states do not require school masks. Therefore, here is a list of the individual states that summarize the rules of your place of residence.
Please note: Mask policies are constantly changing, and policies vary by district where there is no statewide mandate. Contact your local school district for the most accurate mask guidelines.
Although there is no statewide mandate, according to AL.com, at least 58 of Alabama’s 149 public school districts now require masks for students.
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Despite the lack of a statewide mandate, seven of the state’s ten largest school districts, including Anchorage and Juneau, require universal masking.
At least 10 school districts, including Phoenix Elementary and Phoenix Union High School District, are opposing Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s ban on mask mandates by requiring their students to wear masks (leading to an ongoing lawsuit).
Although Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a law in April banning schools from requiring masks, he is now working to lift that ban and is saying that Associated press, “Now everything has changed. And yes, in retrospect I wish it hadn’t become law. ”
California requires all public school students to wear masks.
Centennial State does not have mask requirements for school children, but the Denver and Jeffco school districts will require it.
Governor Ned Lamont has put a nationwide mask policy in place. While local health and education departments will publish updated guidelines before the start of the school year, schools are expected to follow statewide guidelines by then.
Delaware requires all students to wear masks.
Although Florida Governor Ron DeSantis described the Biden Administration’s recommendations for school-age children as “unscientific and inconsistent” and signed an executive order to protect parental freedom in choosing whether their children wear masks, some counties have announced that masks will be required for the 2021-2022 school year.
Although Georgia doesn’t have a statewide mask mandate, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms requires face masks in the city, including her 100+ schools.
All students in Aloha state are required to wear masks.
Although Idaho does not have a statewide mandate, the Boise School District requires masks.
At the beginning of August, Governor JB Pritzker announced, citing “our current history of hospital stays and intensive care stays”, that masks would be required for all students.
Indiana doesn’t have a statewide mask mandate, but an increasing number of school districts in central Indiana are demanding it after the increased number of cases of COVID-19 since schools opened.
The state of Iowa has banned schools from requiring masks.
Kansas schools have the option to prescribe masks. The state’s largest county, Wichita Public Schools, will encourage, but not mandate, the wearing of masks indoors.
All students in Kentucky are required to wear masks. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced the mandate for all K-12 schools on August 10th.
In Louisiana, masks are required in all indoor locations, including schools, regardless of vaccination status.
The largest school district in Maine, Portland Public Schools, will require universal masking while many other school districts do not.
Maryland does not have a statewide school mask mandate, but students in the Baltimore City, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George school districts are required to wear masks in school.
Massachusetts school districts can decide on an individual basis whether or not to require masks for students. Districts in Boston, Springfield, and Amherst have already decided to hire them this year.
Although the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services strongly encourages face-covering in schools, mask requirements are at the discretion of the local district.
The state of Minnesota does not require masks in schools, but its top health and education officials have recommended universal indoor masking for everyone (over 2 years old) in school settings.
Call for the updated guidelines of the CDC on wearing masks “foolish“Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has not issued a statewide mandate for face covering in schools (despite a request from the Mississippi Association of Educators).
Although Kansas City Public Schools require their staff to either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or take weekly tests, local education authorities will decide whether their students should wear them.
Although Montana has recommended indoor masking for students, there is no statewide requirement.
Schools in Nebraska have the option to prescribe masks. Several counties, including the state’s largest, Omaha Public Schools, require masks to be worn indoors.
Masks are required in the largest counties in the states of Clark and Washoe. In the other 15 counties, the districts decide.
Schools in New Hampshire have the option, but are not required to, prescribe masks.
All Garden State students will return to school wearing masks.
While vaccinated middle and high school students in New Mexico are not required to wear face covering, elementary school students and staff across the state require masks regardless of vaccination status.
Schools have the ability to mandate masks in New York state (and new governor Kathy Hochul has said she supports masking requirements for children at school). Schools in New York City will require them regardless of vaccination status.
Schools in North Carolina have the option to prescribe masks. According to the Citizen Times, 55 of the state’s 115 counties have made face covering mandatory, while 54 have made it optional.
School districts will decide whether their students in North Dakota must wear masks.
There is no statewide mask mandate for schools in Ohio; However, Columbus, Cleveland, and Akron schools will make it a requirement.
Masks are not required at schools in Oklahoma. In a press conference in July, Governor Kevin Stitt ruled out the requirement for school masks, saying, “This is about personal responsibility. This is about freedom. ”
Masks are required at all schools in Oregon.
In Pennsylvania, the wearing of masks was left to the individual school districts.
Although Governor Dan McKee has not mandated face-covering in schools, he is now facing pressure from dozens of Rhode Island lawmakers to enact a statewide mask mandate.
Schools in South Carolina are not allowed to prescribe masks.
At the end of July, Governor Kristi Noem tweeted: “I will not issue a nationwide policy that requires or prohibits masks in our schools.” However, some counties, including Sioux Falls and Rapid City, require it.
Current state law allows school districts to mandate masks if they so choose. There are already mandates in Memphis and Nashville.
Although state law prohibits schools from requiring masks, the Dallas, Austin, and Houston counties oppose the law that requires them in schools. However, the debate between state and local governments continues to rage as the Texas Supreme Court temporarily suspended mask orders in Dallas and Bexar counties.
Schools in Utah are not allowed to prescribe masks.
While the Vermont Education Board recommends that schools require masks for the unvaccinated, individual schools have the power to decide whether masks are mandatory.
Mask requirements are mandatory in all K-12 Virginia schools.
All students must wear masks in Washington state schools.
Anyone attending a public school in the District of Columbia must wear a mask this year.
While the decision to prescribe masks has been left to West Virginia schools for the time being, Governor Jim Justice has said that if COVID-19 trends in the state worsen, he may grant a mask mandate.
While Wisconsin doesn’t have a law requiring students to wear masks, the state’s largest counties – Madison and Milwaukee – have mandated masks.
Whether students wear masks is up to each school district in Wyoming.