|State||Has The State Issued a Return to Learn Plan for 2021-2022 Academic Year?||If State Guidance has Been Issued, What Mitigation Measures is the State Asking Be Put in Place for the 2021-2022 Academic Year? How have the State and/or Districts Approached Mask Mandates?||Source|
|Alabama||Yes||The Alabama Department of Health released its K-12 guidelines on July 30th, outlining the following virus mitigation strategies:|
- Masking: Universal masking is recommended for all students, teachers, staff, and visitors.
- Physical Distancing: Teachers, staff, students, and visitors should keep at a social distance of at least six feet in all areas of the school.
In October 2021, several school districts in the state, including Henry County Schools, Geneva County Schools, Dothan City Schools, Houston County Schools, and Geneva City Schools, cancelled their mask mandates.
|Alaska||No||Alaska has not released statewide K-12 guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year. Anchorage Public Schools and Fairbanks North Start Borough School District required face coverings for all students, staff and visitors through December.||Link|
|Arizona||No||The Arizona Department of Health Services stated it will match the Centers for Disease Control's newest mask guidelines for K-12 schools released in July. |
In September, the state's bans on school mask and vaccine mandates were found unconstitutional.
|Arkansas||Yes||Arkansas released formalized guidance for K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year, outlining the following virus mitigation strategies:|
- Masks (Indoors): Mask use is recommended for people who are not fully vaccinated including students, teachers, and staff. Children under 2 years of age should not wear a mask.
- Masks (Outdoors): In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. However, particularly in areas of substantial to high transmission, the CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated.
- Physical Distancing: In order to facilitate in-person learning 5 days a week for Arkansas students, each district shouldcontinue to implement practices that promote physical distancing between individuals and groups of individuals. Although 6 feet is the standard, the inability or impracticality to have physical distance does not prevent a school from having in-person learning. Based on studies from the 2020-2021 school year, the CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, and at least 6 feet between students and adults, and between adults who are not fully vaccinated.
Throughout the fall, mask policies have varied considerably by district. While Rogers Public Schools and Texarkana Arkansas School District lifted their mask mandates, Pine Bluff School District established a mandate.
|California||Yes||California's Department of Education developed the Safe Schools for All Plan as guidance for LEAs as they re-open schools in fall 2021. The plan includes guidance for face masks, vaccination for students, youth activities, and child care. |
Students under the age of 18 must have parental or guardian consent to receive a vaccination.
Students and staff in the state will be required to continue using masks indoors in school settings, whether they are immunized or not.
The state will continue providing free Covid-19 testing.
Physical distancing in schools is not recommended “due to the obstacles it would present to California schools’ full reopening.”
|Colorado||Yes||Colorado schools is prioritizing uninterrupted, full-time, in-person learning for all communities for the current academic year. Effective August 1, Colorado's new 2021-2022 K-12 guidance outlined the following measures for preventing the spread of COVID-19:|
- Masks: The CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. The state recommends local public health agencies and school districts consider either mask requirements for all unvaccinated individuals or all individuals in schools, particularly in higher-risk environments. In addition, even when not required by local public health or a school district, unvaccinated and vaccinated staff and students may choose to wear masks. Schools and school districts should ensure that every classroom is a welcome environment for students and staff who choose to protect themselves in this manner.
- School-Level Vaccination Rate: If at least 70% of individuals age 12 and older within a school community have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, no one, including unvaccinated individuals, needs to quarantine following a typical classroom exposure to a case.
- Vaccinated Individuals: Anyone who is fully vaccinated (at least two weeks after their last dose of COVID-19 vaccine), even in a low vaccination, high case setting, is not required to quarantine if exposed to a case. In the school setting, fully vaccinated individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 during a higher risk exposure should monitor for symptoms and seek testing if symptoms develop.
|Connecticut||Yes||In Connecticut, an executive order remains in place for universal masking in schools.||Link|
|Delaware||No||Governor John Carney’s statewide school mask mandate went into effect on Aug. 16.||Link|
|District of Columbia||Yes||The District of Columbia re-opened schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. The current plan sets the following requirements for issues ranging from HVAC to screening:|
- HVAC: HVAC enhancements allow for well-ventilated spaces at every school, including state-of-the-art HEPA filters in classrooms and air quality sensors throughout the building.
- Masks: All staff, students, and visitors must wear a mask or face covering, and daily PPE and hygiene supplies will be provided.
- Cleaning: Enhanced cleaning protocols for high touch surfaces, and a deep cleaning completed after a suspected or reported COVID-19 case.
- Physical Distancing: Students should be separated as far as possible, and individual desks and tables are to be facing the same direction to the extent feasible.
- Meals: Pre-K and Kindergarten students will eat in the classroom and all other grades will eat in the cafeteria. Social distancing should be followed while eating and drinking, to the extent feasible.
- Cohorting: Student cohort interactions will be limited to the extent feasible, but there will be no cap for student or staff cohort interactions in any grade.
- Screening: Students and staff will complete a daily “Ask, Ask, Look” screening, but temperatures will not be taken upon arrival at school.
|Florida||No||In July, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning school districts from mandating that students wear masks. Under the executive order, district school boards that are unwilling or unable to comply will be susceptible to losing state funding.|
The following districts have mandated masks this school year, despite the governor’s ban: Lake County Schools, Polk County Public Schools, Volusia County Schools, The School District of Lee County, Orange County Public Schools, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Hillsborough County Schools, The School District of Palm Beach County, Orange County Public Schools, Broward County Public Schools, and Duval County Public Schools.
|Georgia||No||Throughout the fall, several districts have considered whether to implement mask mandates. Several districts in Metro Atlanta, including Atlanta, Clayton, DeKalb and Gwinett are mandating masks for the current academic year. Other districts, such as Henry County Schools and Marietta County Schools, dropped mask requirements and made masks optional.||Link|
|Hawaii||Yes||In September, The Hawai’i Department of Health (DOH) released updated COVID-19 Guidance for Schools that includes several mitigation practices to facilitate the return to in-person learning in the 2021-2022 school year, including the following:|
- Masks: Masks must always be worn correctly and consistently by all students and staff when indoors. Students and staff do not need to wear masks in most outdoor settings, but should wear masks in crowded outdoor settings.
- Physical Distancing: Maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, when possible. Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between students and staff, and between staff members who are not fully vaccinated, when possible.
|Idaho||No||Throughout the fall, masks policies have varied by district. While the Boise School District recently reinstated a mask mandate, the Weiser School District discontinued its mandate.||Link|
|Illinois||Yes||On May 24, the Illinois State Board of Education issued a Resolution Supporting In-Person Instruction. According to that resolution, a forthcoming declaration from the state superintendent of education will require public schools to provide fully in-person learning for the 2021-2022 academic school year, with remote instruction available only to students who 1) are not eligible for the vaccine (i.e., under 12 years of age) and 2) are under a quarantine order by the local health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.|
The Illinois Department of Health routinely updates its COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools. In the guidance, the Department calls for prioritizing safe returns to in-person learning for fall 2021, promoting vaccines in schools, and indoor mask-wearing for all individuals ages two and older. Additionally, the state will not require fully vaccinated teachers or students to wear masks in schools.
Soon after making masks optional for fully vaccinated teachers, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools.
|Indiana||Yes||In June, the Indiana Department of Health released its fall 2021 guidance for K-12 public schools. These guidelines are not mandatory, as districts will be able to set their own policies for the fall. The Department of Health recommends the following regarding virus mitigation strategies:|
- Masks: Recommended for students who are not vaccinated, vulnerable individuals who may be at increased risk of illness, and anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask.
- Physical Distancing: At least 3 feet between all students in a classroom (During educational school day and encourage cohorting) and at least 6 feet of distance between adults in the school building and between adults and students, in common areas, when masks can't be worn, during activities involving increased exhalation, and/or in community settings outside the classroom.
- Vaccinations: Encourage vaccination of staff and students as they become eligible for vaccination.
In July, state officials responded to the release of the CDC's newest guidance by strongly recommending that school districts follow federal guidance, but will leave decisions regarding guidance up to school boards.
|Iowa||No||Throughout the fall, masks policies have varied by district. While the Ames Community School District, Iowa City Community School District, Cedar Rapids Community School District and West Des Moines Community Schools mandate masks, other districts, such as the West Burlington Independent School District, dropped its mask mandate.||Link|
|Kansas||Yes||In July, Kansas updated its K-12 guidance for the 2021-22 academic year, outlining the following virus mitigation strategies:|
- Vaccinations: School districts should be working with local and state public health and other
partners to actively plan vaccination clinics.Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine after an exposure to COVID19 as long as they remain without symptoms. This means that they can remain physically in-person at school.
- Masks: CDC and KDHE recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Masks should be worn by all individuals (age 2 and older) on all forms of public transportation including school buses regardless of vaccination status. As the risk of transmitting disease is reduced outdoors, especially where physical distancingis being maintained, masks and cloth face coverings are not generally recommended while outdoors.
- Physical Distancing: Emerging evidence supports the reduced risk of transmission in school settings using a physical distancing less than six feet. Schools should strive to maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms and other closed settings; however, the inability to implement physical distancing within schools should not be a barrier to keeping all students learning in-person. When it is not possible to maintain at least 3 feet of physical distancing, it is especially important to layer all prevention strategies including vaccination, testing, masking and good personal hygiene.
Throughout the fall, mask policies vary by district. Witchita Public Schools' mask mandate went into effect on Aug. 30, while USD 232 voted to make masks optional effective October 2021.
|Kentucky||Yes||In July, Kentucky updated its K-12 guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year, outlining the following virus mitigation strategies:|
- Vaccination: Promote and offer vaccination to help increase the proportion of students (12 years of age or older), teachers, staff, and family members who are vaccinated by encouraging teachers, staff, and family members to get vaccinated, providing on-site vaccination or hosting vaccination clinics at schools, working with local partners to offer vaccination to eligible students and family members during pre-sport/extracurricular activity summer physicals, and providing information to families about vaccine safety and availability in the community.
- Masks: Recommend masks for all persons while indoors in all classroom and non-classroom settings, unless otherwise exempted (e.g., cannot wear a mask due to disability), regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors, though mask use may be considered in outdoor settings that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated. Masks are required on public transportation.
- Physical Distancing: Physical distancing of at least 3 feet is recommended between K-12 students in classrooms where not everyone is fully vaccinated. Physical distancing of at least 6 feet is recommended between students and teachers/staff, and between unvaccinated teachers/staff. Utilize cohorts or pods (a stable group with fixed membership that stays together through activities) as an additional strategy that facilitates more efficient contact tracing and minimizes opportunities for transmission.
Mask policies vary by district. Warren County Public Schools declared masks will be optional effective November 1, while McLean County Public Schools extended its mask mandate until the end of the semester.
|Louisiana||Yes||The Louisiana Department of Education released guidance for schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. The state's guidance includes the following provisions regarding virus mitigation:|
- Physical Distancing: Classes are expected to maintain spacing of three feet.
- Masks: Masking policies will be determined by local school governing authorities. "LDH’s current recommendation, based on CDC guidelines, is that all unvaccinated adults and students in grades 3 through 12 should wear a face covering to the greatest extent possible and practical within the local community context.
In August, Governor John Bel Edwards announced a temporary statewide mask mandate.
|Maine||Yes||The State of Maine developed virus mitigation requirements for schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. The State has outlined the following requirements regarding masks and physical distancing:|
- Physical Distancing and Facilities: Starting in May 2021, all schools have another risk mitigation strategy provided by the State at no cost: routine pooled COVID-19 PCR testing of unvaccinated students and staff. This will allow early identification and isolation of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, making in-classroom education safer. As such, Maine is updating its six requirements to change the three-foot distancing requirement in schools to a recommendation, provided that the school is participating in the State’s pooled testing program. Participation is defined as having at least 30% of school staff and students participating in the program (see the School Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for details.) This program is available now, and will continue to be continue to available through the 2021-2022 school year. Although the Maine CDC continues to recommend a minimum three-foot distancing between and among all students, schools that are participating in the testing program may shift away from this as a requirement after achieving the minimum 30% participation. The requirement for six-feet distance when unmasked and eating or drinking continues to apply, unless a school is participating in pooled testing.
- Masks: Maine is following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance on masks, recommending that all teachers, staff members and students at schools for grades K-12 wear masks, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.
|Maryland||Yes||Maryland updated its K-12 guidance on July 23. In the guidance, state officials declare that each local school system, nonpublic school, and child care program may set their own policies and procedures for their schools, students/children, teachers and staff. The Maryland Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) recommend districts adopt the following virus mitigation strategies: |
- Vaccination: While vaccination is one of the most critical strategies to help schools resume regular operations, decisions about in-person education should not be based on the level of vaccination of teachers, staff, or eligible students/children. Schools and child care programs can promote vaccinations among teachers, staff, eligible students/children, and their families.
- Masks: MDH/MSDE strongly recommend, but do not require, that all individuals who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear face coverings in all indoor settings outside of their home and in outdoor settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Physical Distancing: Local school systems, nonpublic schools, and child care programs should follow CDC guidance for physical distancing.
In late August, the Maryland State Board of Education approved a statewide mask mandate.
|Massachusetts||Yes||In August, the Massachusetts Board of Education voted to give Jeff Riley, the Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, to implement a statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools, which he acted on. The current mandate has been extended until November 1, but middle and high schools can apply for exemption should at least 80 percent of students and staff be vaccinated.||Link|
|Michigan||Yes||In August, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released its guidance for K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year, outlining the following virus prevention strategies for schools:|
- Vaccinations: Promoting vaccination can help schools more safely maintain in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.
- Masks: CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. This prevention strategy is crucial to allowing students to maintain in-person learning. CDC’s order requires all persons – regardless of vaccination status – wear masks on public transportation, including school buses.
- Physical Distancing: CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by students, teachers, and staff, regardless of vaccination status.
Following the surge of the Delta variant, several school districts in Michigan reinstated their mask mandates.
|Minnesota||Yes||On July 28, the Minnesota Department of Health released K-12 guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year, recommending the following virus mitigation strategies:|
- Vaccinations: The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), in alignment with current scientific evidence and guidance from CDC, strongly recommends vaccination for those ages 12 and older, in addition to the consistent use of layered mitigation strategies to help limit the spread of COVID-19, to support inperson learning, and to protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including children, students, teachers, staff, and members of their households.
- Masks: Universal indoor masking is recommended for all people in the school setting (ages 2 years and older), including teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
- Physical Distancing: Schools should implement physical distancing to the extent possible indoors; however, because of the essential services they provide, children should not be excluded from in-person learning or care to maintain a minimum distance requirement. When it is not possible to maintain physical distance in these settings, it is especially important to layer multiple prevention strategies, such as indoor masking, screening testing, forming cohorts, and staying home when sick with symptoms of infectious illness to help reduce transmission risk.
|Mississippi||Yes||The Mississippi Department of Education released guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year. As stated by the Department: The Mississippi State Board of Education set two policies that call for all school districts to resume in-person instruction as the primary mode of teaching starting in the 2021-22 school year. The policies set requirements for districts that choose to offer a virtual learning option to individual students and establish standards for virtual learning days.|
The Mississippi Department of Health is tasked with leading on COVID-19-specific guidance, stating the followig for schools for the upcoming academic year:
- Masks: Consistent with CDC Public Health Guidance, MSDH recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 school settings when not eating or drinking, regardless of vaccination status.
- Vaccination: MSDH recommends that all eligible students, teachers, and staff 12 years of age and older receive COVID-19 vaccination.
In October, several school districts, including Tupelo Public Schools, Forrest County School District, and Madison County Schools made masks optional.
|Missouri||Yes||In July, the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released guidelines for K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. In the guidance, the agencies suggested the following mitigation measures:|
- Vaccinations: Missouri expects local education agencies to work with local public health agencies or other state enrolled vaccinators to offer vaccinations to eligible staff and students.
- Masks and Face Coverings: The Departments state that "...policies regarding masks should be made at the discretion of the local boards of education, after consideration of community transmission and positivity rates within a community, and should be considered for adjustment as public health circumstances dictate. Such policies should be developed with consultation of state and/or local health authorities, as statutory and regulatory authority to mitigate risk of transmission, up to and including school closures, remains within their jurisdiction."
- Physical Distancing: The Departments state that "cohorting can be used to limit the number of students, teachers, and staff who come in contact with each other, especially when it is challenging to maintain physical distancing, such as among young children, and particularly in areas of moderate-to-high transmission levels. The use of cohorting can limit the spread of COVID-19 between cohorts but should not replace other prevention measures within each group. Cohorting people who are fully vaccinated and people who are not fully vaccinated into separate cohorts is not recommended."
In October, Cape Girardeau Public Schools and the Jefferson City School District ended their mask mandates.
|Montana||No||At the district level, Missoula County Public Schools in Montana and the Albany County School District 1, headquarters in Laramie, Wyoming, both extended mask mandates in mid-October. The Bozeman School District is requiring face masks. Helena Public Schools has mandated masks for pre-K to 8 students and staff when classes began the week of Aug. 30.||Link|
|Nebraska||No||Omaha Public Schools mandated masks to start the 2021-2022 academic year. Kearney Public Schools is requiring masks, and in Auburn Pulbic Schools, masks will be required if eight percent of students are absent due to COVID.||Link|
|Nevada||No||At the state level, Gov. Steve Sisolak implemented a universal mask mandate for the state’s two largest districts—Clark and Washoe counties.||Link|
|New Hampshire||No||The Newport School District dropped mask requirements in its middle and high school, the Valley News reported.|
The Raymond School District mandated masks for its middle and elementary school on Oct. 6 after temporarily closing its high school due to a COVID outbreak.
The Dover School District has required masks for elementary and middle school students, and strongly recommends them for high school students, the Foster’s Daily Democrat reported.
The Nashua School District, the state’s second-largest, also mandated masks, NECN.com reported.
|New Jersey||Yes||New Jersey issued state guidelines for schools as they return to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 academic year. |
Vaccinations: Local education agencies (LEAs) are encouraged to have a system in place to determine the vaccination status of students and staff, however, if an LEA is unable to determine the vaccination status of individual students or staff, those individuals should be considered not fully vaccinated.
Face Coverings: Updated CDC guidance on masking in this setting is expected prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year and will factor into the final recommendations from New Jersey for masking this fall. This guidance will be updated following that release.
Physical Distancing: For the 2021-2022 school year, LEAs should consider implementing physical distancing measures as an effective COVID-19 prevention strategy to the extent they are equipped to do so while still providing regular school operations to all students and staff in-person. During periods of high community transmission or if vaccine coverage is low, if the maximal social distancing recommendations below cannot be maintained, LEAs should, where possible, prioritize other prevention measures including masking, screening testing, and cohorting.
|New Mexico||Yes||In August, The New Mexico Department of Education released back to school guidance, outlining the following virus mitigation measures:|
- Vaccinations & Masks: All individuals in elementary schools regardless of vaccination status are required to wear a mask while in a school building, on school transportation, or at an indoor school-sponsored event. Secondary school students, staff, and volunteers who arevfully vaccinated and provide documentation of full vaccination are not required to wear masks. Masks are not required outdoors.
|New York||No||On August 24th, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a requirement that all K-12 teachers get vaccinated or face weekly COVID-19 testing. Additionally, Hochul announced a requirements that all individuals ages 2 and up wear masks indoors in schools. All school staff in New York City are required to get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing.||Link|
|North Carolina||Yes||Mask policies have varied across districts in North Carolina. Masks are optional in Rowan-Salisbury Schools and Hartnett County Schools. Iredell-Statesville Schools, near Charlotte, mandated masks, and Wake County Public Schools, the state’s largest district, requires universal masking.||Link|
|North Dakota||No||North Dakota has not issued formalized guidance for K12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year.|
|Ohio||Yes||In July, the Ohio Department of Health released guidance for K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. In the guidance, the Department requires the following virus mitigation strategies:|
- Vaccinations: The Department strongly recommends vaccinations for staff and eligible students.
- Masks: The Department strongly recommends that those who are unvaccinated wear masks in school. For those districts not opting to require masks, parents will still have the option to have their children wear masks while in school or participating in school activities.
- Physcial Distancing: When it is not possible to maintain at least three feet of distance between students in the classroom, the Department advises that schools layer other prevention strategies, including indoor masking, testing, cohorting, and/or improved ventiliation.
Canton Local, Jackson, Louisville, Minerva, Plain, Perry and Sandy Valley school districts lifted mask mandates on Oct. 27, CantonRep.com reported. Multiple districts in northwest Ohio are also dropping mask mandates, WTOL.com reported.
Bucyrus City Schools has also shifted to masks optional.
Several districts have eased their masking policies in mid-October, including Huber Heights City Schools, Mount Vernon City Schools, the Jonathan Alder Local School District, the Clark-Shawnee Local School District, the Minford Local School District and Northwestern Local Schools.
|Oklahoma||No||Oklahoma has not released K-12 guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year. |
Several districts, including Tulsa Public Schools, went against the state's mask mandate ban and implemented mandates during the fall.
|Oregon||Yes||Oregon released its state guidelines for reopening schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. Recommendations issued by the state on virus mitigation measures include the following:|
- Vaccinations: Under Oregon law, minors 15 and older may give consent to receive medical treatment, including vaccinations. Parental or guardian consent is required to vaccinate people 12-14 years old.
- Face Coverings: The state requires face coverings for all students in grades kindergarten and up, and all staff when students are inside the building, regardless of vaccination status. Certain accommodations for medical needs or disability may be necessary.
- Physical Distancing: OHA and ODE strongly advise that schools support and promote physical distancing (a minimum of 3 feet apart).
|Pennsylvania||No||Governor Tom Wolf enacted a statewide mask mandate on August 31.||Link|
|Rhode Island||No||Governor Daniel McKee enacted a universal mask mandate for schools on August 19.||Link|
|South Carolina||Yes||South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) updated its interim guidance for K-12 schools, outlining the following virus mitigation strategies for schools:|
- Vaccinations: Schools are strongly encouraged to work with local public health officials and healthcare facilities and professionals to provide factual information and education about COVID-19 vaccination and to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines by coordinating vaccine clinics for staff, students, and families who wish to be vaccinated. Schools should not inquire about individuals’ vaccination status, but people may voluntarily disclose it to the school.
- Masks: DHEC recognizes mask use cannot be mandated per the SC General Assembly but is providing the following guidance for teachers, staff, and parents. DHEC strongly recommends mask use for all people when indoors in school settings, especially when physical distancing is not possible. Children under two years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone unable to remove the face covering without assistance should not wear a mask.
- Physical Distancing: At least three (3) feet of distance between each person should be maintained to the greatest extent possible.
|South Dakota||No||South Dakota has not issued formalized guidance for K12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. |
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, five days a week in the fall, KEVN-TV reported.
The Mitchell School District has mandated masks for anyone indoors on school property. The Yankton School District also requires masks.
|Tennessee||No||Tennessee has not issued formalized guidance for K12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. |
|Texas||No||Texas has not issued formalized guidance for K12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. In May, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning school mask mandates.||Link|
|Utah||Yes||In August, the Utah Department of Health released K-12 guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year. The Department recommends the following virus mitigation strategies for schools:|
- Vaccinations: The Department encourages all school staff and students 12 years and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is an important prevention strategy.
- Masks: Parents may always choose to have their child wear a mask at school if they want. In areas where there is no mask requirement, the decision to wear a mask at school remains optional. Utah law outlines the process for health departments to establish mask requirements if needed. Utah law prohibits a “local education agency, an LEA governing board, the state board, the state superintendent, or a school from requiring face masks to attend or participate in in-person instruction, LEA-sponsored athletics, LEA-sponsored extracurricular activities, or in any other place on the campus of a school or school facility.”
- Physical Distancing: Schools should implement physical distancing as much as possible to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated. This means to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people who are not fully vaccinated. However, studies showed physical distancing of only 3 feet in a classroom can be effective when other prevention measures are taken, including mask wearing.
|Vermont||No||In July, the Vermont Agency of Education released guidance for K-12 schools, calling for students to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. The mask mandates has been extended through November 1.||Link|
|Virginia||Yes||As of August 5, 2021, consistent with CDC guidance, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released guidance for K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year, outlining the following virus mitigation strategies:|
- Vaccinations: Promote vaccinations among teachers, staff, families, and eligible students by providing information about COVID-19 vaccination in Virginia. Consider partnering with your local health department to serve as a COVID-19 vaccination site or to hold vaccine clinics in schools. Encourage vaccine trust and confidence, and establish policies and practices that make getting vaccinated as easy and convenient as possible.
- Consistent and correct use of masks: As of August 5, 2021, consistent with CDC guidance, VDH and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) strongly recommend that all K-12 schools (including PreK classrooms) implement a requirement that students, teachers, and staff wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
- Physical distancing: In elementary schools, students should be at least 3 feet apart combined with indoor mask wearing by all students and teachers/staff, regardless of vaccination status. If maintaining 3 feet distance is not possible in classrooms, such as when a school is at full capacity, it is especially important to layer other strategies such as masks, screening testing, ventilation, cleaning, staying home when sick etc. In middle and high schools, students should be at least 3 feet apart combined with indoor mask wearing by those persons who are not fully vaccinated in areas of low, moderate, or substantial community transmission. During high transmission, consider a minimum of 6 feet distance standard for middle and high school students when cohorting is not possible.
|Washington||Yes||Recently, Washington issued formalized guidance for schools for the 2021-2022 academic year, outlining the following requirements regarding virus mitigation strategies: |
Masks: All students, school personnel, volunteers, and visitors must wear cloth face coverings or an acceptable alternative (e.g., surgical mask) at school when indoors, as well as when outdoors where a minimum of six feet distancing cannot be maintained. Face coverings should not be worn by:
o Those under 2 years of age.
o Those with a disability that prevents them from comfortably wearing or
removing a face covering.
o Those with certain respiratory conditions.
o Those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and those who provide instruction to
such people, and use facial and mouth movements apart of communication.
o Those advised by a medical, legal, or behavioral health professional that
wearing a face covering may pose a risk to that person.
Physical Distancing: Maintain three feet of distance between students in classroom settings to the degree possible. Maintain six feet of distance between students to the degree possible for the following circumstances:
• Between adults/staff in the school building and between adults and students.
• For all staff and student in common areas, such as school lobbies and auditoriums.
• For all staff and students when masks can’t be worn, such as when eating lunch.
• For all staff and students during activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as PE, exercise, or shouting. These activities should be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.
• For all staff and students, in community settings outside of the classroom
Vaccinations: Schools should actively promote vaccination among all eligible students, staff, and volunteers
|West Virginia||No||West Virginia has not issued formalized guidance for schools for the 2021-2022 academic year, but has developed a risk metric for districts regarding COVID-19 transmission. Depending on how each county is performing in the state's virus risk metric, they will each be assigned one of four colors: green, yellow, orange, or red.|
- Green indicates that a county is experiencing minimal community transmission, allowing counties to operate under general re-entry guidelines while continuing to follow best health practices to prevent the spread of the disease.
- Yellow indicates that a county is experiencing moderate community transmission and increased restrictions may be necessary.
- Orange indicates that a county is experiencing higher community transmission and further restrictions will be necessary, in collaboration with local health officials.
- Red indicates that a county is experiencing substantial community transmission. Under these conditions all in-person instruction would be suspended and remote learning plans would be activated. Staff would continue essential support services, including meals, student engagement, and special education.
|Wisconsin||Yes||In August, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released guidelines for K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. The guidelines outline the following virus mitigation strategies for schools:|
- Vaccinations: Governor Evers and the DHS encourage anyone attending school in the 2021-2022 school year to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
- Masking: The wearing of face masks by students and staff is a district decision. It is recommended by the Department of Public Instruction that decisions be based upon the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the recommendations and public health guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). The DPI recommends to school districts that all students older than 2 years and all school staff wear face masks at school (unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit use) regardless of vaccination status.
- Physcial Distancing: . A distance of at least six feet is recommended between students and teachers/staff, and between teachers/staff who are not fully vaccinated.
|Wyoming||No||Wyoming has not issued formalized guidance for schools for the 2021-2022 academic year.|