A Maryland county is bringing back the school mask mandate as the 2022 school year starts, citing an uptick in COVID cases.
Prince George’s County Public Schools announced Friday that face masks will be mandatory again at all schools and facilities in the district.
The policy took effect on Monday, and it will stay in effect until further notice, the district said.
School officials said in a statement that the mask mandate is back in effect “in light of the highly contagious COVID-19 BA.5 variant,” and said the district is following county health department recommendations.
“When responding to public health threats like COVID-19, Maryland school districts have flexibility to determine mask-wearing policies,” the district said in its statement, which was posted to Facebook.
“The mask policy is subject to change according to local and/or state health departments guidelines, and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” the district said.
As of Friday, the CDC ranked the county’s COVID community level as high. Prince George’s County, less than 20 miles outside Washington, D.C., has about one million residents, the majority of whom are black, and another 20% of whom are Latino. The county’s school district is the second largest in the state and serves about 130,000 students with a $2.3 billion annual budget.
In July, the district made face masks optional in Prince George’s County schools for the first time since the pandemic began, but Friday’s announcement reverses that decision.
Students return to classrooms on August 29.
This, after the CDC basically admitted they screwed the pooch on the WuFlu pandemic, CDC director orders reorganization, saying COVID-19 response 'did not reliably meet expectations' (Fox).