D.C. lifts mask mandates for schools, but system heads are not rolling back requirements

Despite significant changes in the guidance of the D.C. Health department, thee head of the D.C. Public School system says masks will stay on for now.
Image
Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser
Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser
(Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images)

Washington, D.C., lifted its indoor mask mandate for schools and childcare facilities on Tuesday, placing the decision as to whether to require face coverings in the hands of educators.

The D.C. Public School system will now decide for itself what to do regarding masking policy for students.

The chancellor of the system, Lewis Ferebee, said in a statement that, for the time being, the district will keep the mandate.

Ferebee said the district will discuss the issue with the Washington Teachers' Union and other groups before arriving at a decision.

The District of Columbia continues to recommend masks on campus if the COVID-19 transmission is considered "high." At present, D.C. community transmission levels are considered "low."

The guidance also removes the physical distancing recommendations and shortens the length of quarantine requirements for unvaccinated students.

Schools are also only required to notify D.C. Health if they have five or more confirmed cases of the virus in a building inside of a five day period. Formerly, schools were instructed to report every COVID case to the department.

Additionally, COVID testing need not occur when transmission levels are considered "low," according to the new guidance.