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Mask tracker: Omicron wave is bringing mandates back to schools in 2022

Elected officials in several states have made mask mandates illegal, saying the decision should be left to parents.

By: Matt Zalaznick | January 24, 2022

ALABAMA: Decatur City Schools will require masks after the district returns from remote learning on Jan. 24 until Feb. 8. Hoover City Schools mandated masks on Jan. 12 after administrators determined contract tracing become unmanageable. Madison City Schools reimposed its mask mandate on Jan. 4, until further notice.


ALASKA: Anchorage Public Schools has required face coverings for all students, staff and visitors.


ARIZONA: The Phoenix Union High School District and Phoenix Elementary School District have mandated masks.


ARKANSAS: Fort Smith Public Schools on Jan. 10 reinstated a mask requirement for the next 30 days. Fayetteville Public Schools is requiring all persons on all campuses to wear masks until further notice.


CALIFORNIA: California requires all students to wear masks.

MAP: Districts’ operational status across the U.S.


COLORADO: Weld Re-4 School District made masks optional on Jan. 13.

Denver Public Schools is requiring all students and staff to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Jeffco

Public Schools and the Poudre School District are also requiring masks.


CONNECTICUT: An executive order remains in place that requires universal masking in all school buildings.


DELAWARE: Gov. John Carney extended a statewide school mask mandate until Feb. 8.


GEORGIA: Cook County School District has reimposed a mask mandate until at least Jan. 31. One of Georgia’s largest districts, Fulton County Schools, is requiring masks through at least Jan. 21. 

DeKalb County School District has mandated masks for the second semester of the 2021-22 school year. Masks will be optional in the Dooly County School System as of Jan. 4. Dublin City Schools made masks optional on Dec. 13.


HAWAII: “Masks must always be worn correctly and consistently by all students and staff when indoors,” the state’s Department of Education says on its website.


IDAHO: The Boise School District has reinstated a mask mandate.


ILLINOIS: Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has issued a statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools.


INDIANA: Westfield Washington Schools returned to a district-wide mask mandate on Jan.7, according to IndyStar.comEdinburgh Community School Corporation reinstated a mask mandate on Dec. 13 due to a steady rise in COVID cases.


KANSAS: Several schools in the Kansas City suburbs have reinstated mask mandates, the Shawnee Mission Post reportedManhattan-Ogden USD 383 reinstated masks on Jan. 3 until at least early February.


MAINE: Regional School Unit 74 has mandated masks through the end of January 2022, reportedAuburn Public Schools mandate masks on Oct. 21 due to an outbreak at a high school.

RSU 16 requires masks in all its buildings, the Sun Journal reportedThe Brewer School Department has mandated masks due to an uptick in cases as staff prepares for the first day of school.


MARYLAND: The state’s board of education has approved a statewide mask mandate, The Baltimore Sun reported.


MASSACHUSETTS: The state’s school mask mandate has been extended until Nov. 1, but middle and high schools can apply for an exemption if 80% of students and staff are vaccinated.


MICHIGAN: Pennfield Schools has made masks mandatory until Feb. 18 after a majority of parents favored the requirement in the community poll.

Munising Public Schools reinstated universal masking policy on Jan. 17. Clio Area Schools is requiring masks through Jan. 28. Masks became optional Zeeland Public Schools on Dec. 30. Goodrich Area Schools will end its mask mandate on Jan. 5.

Plainwell Community Schools has mandated masks through Jan. 14. Jackson Public Schools on Nov. 9 reinstated its mask mandate, until further notice, due to an increase in COVID infections. However, the Genesee County Health Department announced masks will become optional in classrooms where there are no students younger than 5 years old, on Dec. 22.


MINNESOTA: Byron Public Schools instituted a mask mandate on Jan. 18 through at least Jan. 27.


MISSOURI: Kirkwood School District reimposed a mask mandate after winter break, and will review case rates on a daily basis. The Kansas City Council on Jan. 6 reinstated a mask mandate for schools, reported.


MONTANA: Billings Public Schools, which was set to masks optional, decided to keep its mandate in place on Jan. 13.

Masks are only recommended in Helena Public Schools due to low case counts, enhanced rapid testing capability, the availability of vaccines for kids ages 5-11 and low local hospitalization rates, Superintendent Rex Weltz said in a message to the community.


Masks will become optional in Great Falls Public Schools when students return from winter break on Jan. 3. Lolo School District made masks optional on Dec. 30.


The Bozeman School District is requiring face masks. The district’s superintendent can lift the mandates for certain grades based on transmission data, reported.


Helena Public Schools has mandated masks for pre-K to 8 students and staff when classes begin the week of Aug. 30, the Independent Record reported.


NEBRASKA: Grand Island Public Schools has mandated masks for five weeks starting on Jan. 14. Lincoln Public Schools reinstated its mask mandate on Jan. 4 due to rising COVID infections. Westside Community Schools is also requiring face coverings again due to increasing cases among children.


NEW JERSEY: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has placed schools in his state under a universal mask mandate.


NEW MEXICO: Masks are required for all staff and students in elementary schools, and for unvaccinated staff and students in secondary schools.


NEW YORK: New York has mandated universal masks in schools statewide. New York City public schools had previously required universal masking in schools. All staff are also required to get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing.


NORTH CAROLINA: Masks are required in Brunswick County Schools as of Jan. 18. Henderson County Public Schools began requiring masks again on Jan. 11. Thomasville City Schools is again requiring masks, reported.


Masks will become optional in Stokes County Schools on Jan. 4. New Hanover County Schools is keeping its mandate in place, reported. In the same state, Burke County Public Schools and Gaston County Public Schools have made masks optional.


Catawba County Schools made masks optional on Dec. 7 but, according to, the Alamance-Burlingame School System is keeping its mandate in place for another month. Gaston County Schools made masks optional as of Nov. 29, reported.


OHIO: Lebanon City School reinstated its mask mandate through Jan. 31. Lockland School District also reimposed a mask requirement on Jan. 6.


Steubenville City Schools, Edison Local School District and Harrison Hills School District are requiring masks for the first two weeks of 2022 while Indian Creek School District is only recommended, reported.


East Liverpool City Schools reinstated a mask mandate on Dec. 6 due to a rise in COVID cases. The district will reassess the mandate weekly.


Woodridge Local Schools will drop its mask mandate on Jan. 10. Perrysburg Schools, after making masks in early November, has mandated masks until Dec. 16. Bowling Green City Schools reimposed a mask mandate as of Nov. 22 due a rise in COVID cases. The districts made masks optional on Oct. 28.


OKLAHOMA: Tulsa Public Schools reinstated its mask mandate on Jan. 19. McAlester Public Schools reinstated a mask requirement on Nov. 29.


OREGON: Masks will be required indoors at all public schools in the state, Gov. Kate Brown ordered on July 29.


PENNSYLVANIA: Cumberland Valley School District reimposed a mask mandate on Jan. 19. Souderton Area School District has mandated masks for the first two weeks of 2022, until at least Jan. 18. Masks were optional in the Bensalem, Central Bucks, Pennridge, and Marple Newtown schools districts as of mid-December, reported.

The Hollidaysburg Area School District made masks optional on Dec. 9. Nazareth Area School District is encouraging but no longer requiring masks as of Nov. 24.


RHODE ISLAND: Gov. Dan McKee required universal masking in schools by executive order on Aug. 19.


SOUTH DAKOTA: Douglas School District is requiring masks again after an increase in COVID cases.


TENNESSEE: Germantown Municipal School District dropped its mask mandate on Jan. 19, reported.


TEXAS: Richardson ISD imposed a mask mandate until at least Jan. 31 due to rising COVID cases.


UTAH: Salt Lake County imposed a 30-day mask mandate on Jan. 7 that covers public schools, the Desert News reported.


VIRGINIA: Rockbridge County Public Schools decided to keep its mask mandate in place on Jan. 20. Virginia Beach City Public Schools has decided to keep masks in place while nearby Chesapeake Public Schools has made masks optional, reported.


WASHINGTON: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee required all students and staff to wear masks in school buildings after the CDC revised tightened its recommendations due to the delta variant, vaccine hesitancy and the lack of a vaccine for younger students.


WASHINGTON, D.C.: District of Columbia Public School will require students and staff to wear masks when its buildings reopen fully for in-person learning in 2021-22, Superintendent Lewis Ferebee has announced.


WEST VIRGINIA: Upshur County Schools on Dec. 20 made masks mandatory again until COVID cases decline.


WISCONSIN: The School District of Superior on Jan. 12 mandated masks for the first time during the 2021-22 school year. Masks will become optional in Oshkosh Area School District on Jan. 15. The district extended the mandate a week to account for potential spread after holiday travel.


WYOMING: Laramie County School District 1 ended its mask mandate on Jan. 10. Teton County School District dropped its mask mandate on Jan. 1. 

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