masks in schools

Montgomery Schools to Require Masks; Here's What Other Districts Say

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Correction (July 27, 2021 at 10:25 p.m. EST): A previous version of this article listed a mask policy for Alexandria City Public Schools before there was one. As of Aug. 3, it's confirmed that the school district will require masks.

As COVID-19 vaccination rates stall and the delta variant spreads across the United States, school districts in the D.C. area are announcing their plans on whether to require masks this fall.

Face masks will be required for students and staff inside Montgomery County Public Schools this fall regardless of vaccination status, officials said Tuesday.  

The school board said they endorsed the interim superintendent’s decision in order to protect students and staff. 

“COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the nation and in Montgomery County, and students under 12 do not have access to vaccinations. MCPS must ensure the safety of all students and staff as it prepares for the return to in-person instruction five days a week,” the board said in a statement. 

Masks will be required in school buildings and on school buses, and “strongly recommended” outdoors for people who are not vaccinated. 

The mask requirement will be reviewed “regularly,” they said. 

Here’s what we know so far about what local school districts will do:

DC: D.C. Public Schools will require masks, officials said Friday. 

Virginia, at the state level: State officials strongly recommend that many students and staff members wear masks inside schools this fall, but they opted to give individual districts flexibility to set rules that take local coronavirus data into account. State health and education officials recommended masks in elementary schools regardless of vaccination status, and in middle and high schools among students and staff who are not fully vaccinated, “at a minimum.”

Alexandria: Alexandria City Public Schools will require masking this fall.

Charles County: Masks will be mandatory on school buses but optional in school buildings. 

Prince George’s County: Masks will be required for students, teachers and staff inside Prince George’s County Public Schools this fall, officials said Monday. Schools CEO Monica Goldson said the vaccination rate among eligible students is still too low, at 50%. 

Spotsylvania County: The school board voted 6-1 on Monday night to strongly urge students in all grades to wear masks this fall. However, parents can submit opt-out forms if they prefer for their child to not wear a mask. 

No decisions have been announced yet in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun or Prince William counties. 

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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