(The Center Square) – Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) issued a mask mandate starting Monday, August 9, for all staff, students, and visitors inside all schools and buildings, regardless of vaccination status.
“This decision is 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,” the school said in a statement.
Masks are required on public transportation, including school buses.
In the coming weeks, MPS will be providing families with more details on health and safety practices schools will have in place when students return in September.
Last week, the Department of Health issued recommendations for the 2021-22 school year, including:
- All people ages 12 years and older should 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 to protect those who cannot yet be vaccinated or can’t be vaccinated
- Schools should maintain at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms whenever possible
- Students, teachers, and staff should stay home if they have signs of any infectious illness and should contact their health care provider for testing and care
- 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. Follow CDC testing guidance for anyone exposed to a confirmed case
- People who are not fully vaccinated and returning to in-person school, sports, or extracurricular activities should get tested regularly for COVID-19
- Schools should provide good ventilation and rapid contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, cleaning, and disinfection.
With Gov. Tim Walz’s emergency powers rescinded, there are no longer mandates for schools to follow state guidance.
“In-person learning is critical, not only when it comes to academics, but also for our students’ social-emotional well-being and mental health,” Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller said in a statement. “As we head back to school this fall, we must implement measures to protect the health and safety of all of our students, staff and families.”