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Minneapolis Public Schools to require face masks, St. Paul considers similar mask rules

The district says face coverings will be required inside all schools and buildings, regardless of vaccination status, starting Aug. 9.

MINNEAPOLIS — As the new school year approaches, the Minneapolis Public School District has made the decision to require face masks for all students, staff and visitors.

Starting Monday, Aug. 9, face coverings will be required in all district schools and buildings, regardless of vaccination status.

According to the district, the decision was "based on the strong recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health about masking being a critical way to protect children who cannot yet get vaccinated, along with others who are not vaccinated."

Face coverings will still be required on public transportation and school buses.

MPS families can expect more guidance on the health and safety measures being taken by the district for the upcoming school year in the coming weeks.

Classes begin Sept. 8 for students in grades 1-12, and Sept. 10 for prekindergarten and kindergarten.

In St. Paul, the school board is scheduled to consider a similar mask requirement next week. 

According to a news release from the district, Superintendent Dr. Joe Gothard will introduce a resolution at the Aug. 10 board meeting that would require masks for all children over the age of 2, as well as all staff and visitors.

If approved by the St. Paul Board of Education, the mask requirement would begin on Aug. 18.

Last month, the Minnesota Department of Health recommended that schools follow the Center for Disease Control guidance on wearing masks this fall, citing an uptick in COVID-19 cases driven by the delta variant.

Those recommendations include that:

  • All people ages 12 and older get vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to in-person school, sports, or other activities
  • All students, teachers, staff, and visitors in school buildings should wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status
  • Schools should maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students in classrooms whenever possible
  • Students, teachers, and staff should stay home if they have signs of any infectious illness
  • Students, teachers, and staff who have been fully vaccinated do not need to stay home even if they have had recent close contact with a confirmed case, so long as they remain asymptomatic and do not test positive
  • People who aren't fully vaccinated and returning to in-person school, sports, or extracurricular activities (and their families) should get tested regularly for COVID-19 according to CDC guidance
  • Schools should continue to strengthen good ventilation, rapid and thorough contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, cleaning, and disinfection

In July, the American Academy of Pediatrics also came out in support of potentially requiring COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine proof, and masks for anyone over the age of two, including those who are fully vaccinated.