MN Ed. Commissioner: Classroom mask mandate this fall unlikely

Minnesota Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller said that there “aren’t currently plans to instill a mask mandate for students when they return to the classrooms this fall,” reported WCCO.

[During a press conference with Gov. Tim Walz] Mueller said that the CDC does “recommend that students in elementary schools continue to wear masks,” but added “that is not something that can be dictated or guided or mandated by the Department of Education.”

That would not necessarily be the case, however, with school buses or any forms of transportation overseen by the federal government, Mueller added.

As of now, children 12 and under are not eligible to receive any COVID-19 vaccines currently in distribution.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new school guidance Friday that states in-person instruction for fall 2021 should be a priority for a schools. The guidance also directs students, educators, and staff who are not vaccinated to continue wearing masks at school. Given that children under the age of 12 are not eligible for vaccination at this time, the CDC recommends schools maintain “layered mitigation strategies,” such as hand washing, physical distancing, screening testing, cleaning and disinfection, and contact tracing.

These new federal recommendations are less prescriptive than previously released guidance, and “may be too late” to change schools’ plans for the upcoming school year, according to Education Week.