ANOKA, Minn. — Students K-6 in the state's biggest school district will be required to wear face coverings this upcoming school year, as long as case numbers remain high.
At a meeting Monday, the Anoka-Hennepin School District voted to change the masking policy from a recommendation to a universal indoor masking requirement for everyone in a school setting from kindergarten through sixth grade.
According to the district's website, the new requirement will go into effect Sept. 7, when students are slated to return to school.
School officials provided the following details about the updated policy:
- Universal indoor masking for all people in a school setting grades K through grade 5, and for 6th grade students inside the school building, and for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in K-5 school settings and 6th grade classrooms regardless of vaccination status when the COVID-19 case levels are greater than 15 per 10,000 as communicated by the Minnesota Department of Health on the Weekly Case Rate by County of Residence data report.
- Sixth grade students are defined as classrooms where the entire classroom is composed of sixth grade students.
- Anoka-Hennepin will monitor and provide any necessary updates to mask requirements on Fridays following the publication of the weekly report.
- Masks for students in Grades 7-12 remain strongly recommended, not required and will be revisited in the event that county level data continues to climb.
- The resolution linking masking guidance to county level COVID-19 numbers is in place for the entire 2021-22 school year.
According to the district's website, masking is one of a handful of precautions officials are taking, including increased air filtration, enhanced cleaning and sanitation and social distancing whenever possible.
"The modification to link face coverings/masks to public health data for 2021-22 was made by the school board after a review of district, county, state and federal COVID-19 information and the district's COVID-19 preparedness plan," a release read. "Anoka-Hennepin remains committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for staff, students and the community.
"Anoka-Hennepin will continue to prioritize protecting the health and safety for staff and students and monitor any impact of COVID-19 on school operations. The following guidance is being provided now to families in advance of the school year to support planning decisions about the upcoming year."