DC public schools will drop mask requirements starting Wednesday, March 16, a decision that comes as new cases have fallen significantly in the area. Masks will now be optional for all students, staff, and visitors. The move follows DC Health’s decision to update its guidelines Tuesday for educational facilities, including schools, childcare facilities, and colleges.
“I recognize that this is a change for our school community and may cause some initial concern,” DC schools chancellor Lewis Ferebee wrote in an email to parents. “I want to strongly reiterate that all our students and staff are welcome to continue to wear a mask if they choose, and we will actively promote a climate where this choice is respected.”
DC Health’s updated guidelines mirror the CDC’s new guidelines, which say residents in areas with low COVID-19 transmission levels can take fewer precautions such as masking up. DC is currently in the “low” category.
The DC school system will continue to provide weekly Covid testing kits for anyone too young to get vaccinated and will also continue its pre-k Test to Stay pilot program. Masks and additional testing will be required if a positive case arises in a pre-k class.