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The CDC recently issued new mask guidelines for individuals in substantial or high-transmission areas and K-12 schools. As a result, states have been assessing and re-assessing their status and school reopening guidelines. NATP continues to monitor and provide related updates in order to prepare the testing scene that will follow.

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CDC new mask guidance

President Biden

Secretary of Education

Department of Education

Teacher Unions

  • The national teachers unions have expressed support for universal mask mandates and vaccination of staff and eligible students.

Students with Disabilities

State Positions

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
    • Gov. Mike Dunleavy explained that local flexibility on school mask policies is important because he believes the choice to wear a mask is personal and the state is no longer in a state of emergency. 
    • Anchorage Public Schools has required face coverings for all students, staff and visitors.
  • Arizona
    • The Arizona Department of Education strongly encourages all individuals in public schools to wear masks on campus and during school-associated activities.
    • Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner ruled that a state law banning school mask requirements would not take effect until Sept. 29.
    • Arizona lawsuit contends the state’s school mask mandate ban may be unconstitutional because they have nothing to do with the budget, NPR reports.
    • Just before taking effect, Arizona’s school mask mandate ban ruled unconstitutional.
  • Arkansas
    • Arkansas lawmakers voted to keep in place the state’s ban on school mask mandates. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has asked the state’s legislature to provide an exception to state law the prohibits schools from requiring masks.
    • Arkansas Judge Pauses Ban on School Mask Mandates After Lawmakers Fail to Act.
    • On Sept. 30, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s mask requirement ban for schools and other government entities could not be enforced.
  • California
    • In California, masks are required for all individuals in indoor settings, including K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
    • Some San Diego County schools are breaking the state’s K-12 mask mandate.
    • California Supreme Court wasted little time denying a petition from the Orange County Board of Education today that asked the court to overturn the state’s mask mandate. 
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
    • Gov. John Carney issued an executive order requiring masks indoors in public and private schools.
  • Florida
  • Georgia
    • City Schools of Decatur, Georgia, has decided to continue with universal masking for all students and staff at all CSD schools. As of now, CSD is the only metro-Atlanta school district that plans to require masks.
    • Glynn County Schools has mandated universal masks in schools buildings and on buses.
  • Hawaii
    • Masks must always be worn correctly and consistently by all students and staff when indoors.
  • Idaho As the CDC recommends masking in schools, Idaho grapples with their masking guidelines.
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
    • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb modified the mask mandate for schools to allow students to remove masks in a classroom if they could maintain three to six feet of distance from other people.
    • Greater Clark County Schools in Indiana reinstituted a mask mandate after  70 students tested positive for COVID within the first eight days of school, Superintendent Mark Laughner said on the district’s website.
    • The South Bend Community School Corporation, which had previously required masks for elementary school students, has now mandated them for all staff and students, the South Bend Tribune reported.
    • Noblesville Schools, Hamilton Southeastern schools, Carmel Clay Schools, MSD Lawrence Township and MSD of Pike Township have also mandated masks, reported.
  • Iowa Iowa schools may decide to require masks based on their individual situations and data.
    • Iowa approved a last-minute measure that prohibits counties, cities or school boards from imposing face-covering requirements more strict than those ordered by the state.
    • A federal judge on Monday ordered the state of Iowa to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
    • On Oct. 8, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt granted a preliminary injunction against a state law banning mask mandates in schools. Pratt’s ruling allowed the approximately 20 districts in the state with mask mandates to keep them. 
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
    • Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive order requiring all individuals to wear masks inside of public and private schools.
    • On Aug. 23, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) rescinded his executive order requiring masks be worn in schools. Masks are still required in Kentucky public schools due to a separate Kentucky Board of Education order. 
    • On Sept. 9, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a bill in special session overriding the state’s mask requirement policy for public schools. The bill requires school mask requirement decisions to be left to local authorities.
    • Kentucky Schools Overwhelmingly Keep Mask Mandates after Republicans Scrapped State Requirement. All but six of Kentucky’s 171 school districts are maintaining mask mandates after the state board of education allowed local decisions to be made on vaccine and mask mandates.
  • Louisiana
    • The statewide mask mandate reinstated by Gov. John Bel Edwards requires everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks indoors, including in schools.
    • Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) extended Louisiana’s statewide public indoor mask requirement through Oct. 27.
  • Maine
    • The Maine Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The guidance required all staff and students aged five and older to wear masks.
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
    • Health and education officials in Massachusetts have strongly recommended masks indoors for all students in kindergarten through grade 6 and for unvaccinated students in grades 7 and above.
    • Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted to allow Commissioner Jeffrey Riley to implement a mask mandate for K-12 public school teachers, staff, and students.
    • The mask requirement for all K-12 students, teachers and staff will be extended through at least Nov. 1, Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced.
    • On Oct. 5, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept a case challenging Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) coronavirus restrictions, including stay at home orders and mask requirements.
    •  Schools in Massachusetts can lift their mask requirements if at least 80% of students are vaccinated.
  • Michigan
    • Gov. Whitmer urges Michigan schools to mask up, stops short of mandate.
    • Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services on June 25 released COVID guidelines Friday that urged the wearing of masks and continued social distancing and contract tracing in schools.
  • Minnesota
    • Two of the state’s largest districts in Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools, have announced they will require face coverings regardless of age or vaccination status.
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
    • St. Louis, Missouri, enacted a mask requirement. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a lawsuit challenging the mask requirement.
  • Montana
    • The Bozeman School District is requiring face masks. The district’s superintendent can lift the mandates for certain grades based on transmission data, reported.
    • Helena Public Schools has mandated masks for pre-K to 8 students and staff when classes begin the week of Aug. 30, the Independent Record reported.
  • Nebraska
    • Omaha Public Schools—one of the first large, urban school districts to return in-person in 2020, has mandated masks to start the 2021-22 school year.
    • In rural Auburn Public Schools, masks will be required if 8% of students are absent due to COVID, according to News Channel Nebraska.
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
    • The Dover School District has required masks for elementary and middle school students, and strongly recommends them for high school student.
    • The Nashua School District, the state’s second-largest, also mandated masks.
  • New Jersey
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order requiring masks indoors in private and public schools.
  • New Mexico
    • New Mexico mandated masks for all staff and students in elementary schools, and for unvaccinated staff and students in secondary schools.
    • On Oct. 15, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) extended the state’s public indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals through at least Nov. 12.
  • New York
    • New York will let local schools set COVID guidelines, including on mask mandates.
    •  On Aug. 27, the New York State Department of Health filed an emergency regulation requiring masks be worn in schools.
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
    • Mandan Public Schools in North Dakota now recommend but does not require masks.
  • Ohio
    • While masks are no longer required in Ohio, beginning June 2, 2021, it is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED that providers adhere to CDC guidance, which states that unvaccinated populations should still mask and socially distance. 
    • Columbus City Schools will require masks inside school buildings, regardless of an individual’s age or vaccination status.
    • Dayton Public Schools announced its mask mandate on Aug. 11.
    • Unvaccinated, unmasked students exposed to coronavirus could remain in class, under potential pilot project.
  • Oklahoma
    • Senate Bill 658 prohibits school districts from requiring masks unless the governor issues an emergency declaration for their area.
    • Santa Fe South Schools, a charter system in Oklahoma City, became the first district to defy Gov. Kevin Stitt’s ban on mask mandate, The Oklahoman reported.
    • Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel issued a mask mandate for his district on Aug. 13, saying COVID cases in the system had gone from the single to the triple digits in just the first three days of school.
    • Hulbert Public Schools mandated masks after closing temporarily.
    • Oklahoma County District Court Judge Natalie Mai temporarily blocked the Oklahoma Department of Education from enforcing Senate Bill 658, which prohibits school mask requirements.
  • Oregon
    • Governor Kate Brown directs state agencies to align K-12 mask guidance with CDC recommendations to prevent disruptions to return to in-person instruction in Oregon.
    • The statewide public outdoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals took effect on Aug. 27. 
  • Pennsylvania
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said the state would not impose a mask mandate on schools but is encouraging districts to follow the CDC’s updated guidance on universal masking.
    • Superintendent Dr. William Hite said masks will be required in the Philadelphia School District in the fall, WPVI-TV reported.
    • Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced masks would be required in all public and private K-12 schools starting Sept. 7.
  • Rhode Island
    • Gov. Dan McKee required universal masking in schools by executive order on Aug. 19.
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
    • For now, masks and vaccines optional in South Dakota back-to-school plans. Rapid City Area Schools announced the students and staff will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks when schools open for in-person instruction.
  • Tennessee
    • Gov. Bill Lee issued an order allowing parents to send their children to school without masks in K-12 public schools that enact mask requirements. 
    • Tennessee students can opt out of wearing masks at school, but the Shelby County superintendent disagrees.
    • Metro Nashville Public Schools, Shelby County Schools and Hancock County Schools are requiring universal masking, reported.
    • Williamson County Schools on Aug. 26 expanded its mask mandate from elementary schools to its middle and high schools, the reported.
    • On Sept. 3, a federal judge on Friday blocked Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) executive order allowing students to opt out of school mask mandates.
    • On Sept. 30, Gov. Bill Lee (R) extended an order allowing parents to opt their children out of school mask mandates.
  • Texas
  • Utah
    • State law prevents a mask mandate in Utah schools, and the Dept. of Health says they’re not recommending a mandate.
  • Virginia
    • In Virginia, school divisions will have the authority to implement local mask policies based on public health recommendations and community conditions.  
    • Some, including Fairfax County Public Schools, has mandated masks for all students, staff and visitors when the 2021-22 school year starts.
    • Arlington Public Schools and Frederick County Public Schools have also required masks.
  • Washington
    • All staff and students in Washington must continue to wear face coverings/masks, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wisconsin
    • Health officials in Eau Claire and La Crosse counties in Wisconsin are recommending that everyone wear masks indoors in public areas, including people who have been fully vaccinated.
    • Manitowoc Public School District, Altoona School District and Eau Claire Area School District are not making any changes at this time, while Green Bay and Milwaukee Public Schools will continue the mask mandate.
    • Milwaukee Public Schools will require students to wear masks when all of its buildings open for in-person learning in the fall, Superintendent Keith P. Posley announced in a blog on the district’s website.
    • A Wisconsin parents sue school districts that don’t require masks.

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Updated: October 19, 2021

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