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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.

Lead Article

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

  • 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. 
    • No-Mask Mondays: El Dorado County high school students stage protest, teacher put on leave.

Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article255339726.html#storylink=cpy

  • 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
    • Wichita Public Schools’ school board approved a mask mandate that goes into effect on Aug. 30.
    • USD 232 made masks optional for high school students on Oct. 20.
  • 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.
    • The Bowling Green Independent School District’s mask mandate was extended by its school board until at least Dec. 13 despite Superintendent Gary Field’s recommendation to make face coverings optional as cases among students and staff decline. Several other counties, including Barren, Warren, McLean, and Metcalf made them optional.
  • Louisiana
  • 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.
    • Regional School Unit 74 has mandated masks through the end of January 2022, CentralMaine.com reportedAuburn Public Schools mandate masks on Oct. 21 due to an outbreak at a high school.
  • 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.
    • Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner extended the K-12 mask requirement through Jan. 15, 2022.
    • Some Massachusetts schools hesitate to drop mask requirements even as vaccination rates meet state threshold.
    • School mask requirement extended into 2022.
  • 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.
    • Jackson Public Schools on Nov. 9 reinstated its mask mandate, until further notice, due to an increase in COVID infections.
  • 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.
    • ISD 518 in Worthington dropped its mask mandate on Oct. 18. “ISD 518 recommends masking to reduce the spread of and exposure to COVID-19.
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
    • Jenks Public Schools ended a temporary mask mandate on Nov. 8 due to a steady decline in COVID cases among students and staff.
  • 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.
    • Gov. Tom Wolf says the state’s mask mandate will expire on Jan, 17, and the decision on requiring face coverings in classrooms will revert to local school leaders.
  • 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.
    •  The Mitchell School District has mandated masks for anyone indoors on school property. The Yankton School District also requires masks, the Argus Leader reported.
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
    • State law prevents a mask mandate in Utah schools, and the Dept. of Health says they’re not recommending a mandate.
    • The Grand County School District extended its mask mandate until Nov. 9.
  • Vermont
  • 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.
    • West Virginia: Cabell County Schools reinstated a mask mandate on Nov. 8 after relaxing the requirement on Nov. 1.
  • 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.
    • The rural Unified School District of Antigo in northern Wisconsin enacted a mask mandate on Oct. 18 that will last until Christmas.
    • Lodi, Pardeeville, Reedsburg, Rio, River Valley and Wisconsin Dells districts started school without a mask mandate but have since required them, the Baraboo News Republic reported.
    • Only two districts — Cambria-Friesland and Weston — remain mask-optional, according to information available on their websites

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Updated: November 11, 2021

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