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Anoka-Hennepin, Moorhead schools enact mask mandates

Previously, the districts were only recommending masks for unvaccinated students and staff.

Two more school districts will be requiring masks, at least for some students, while local transmission rates are high. 

The school boards of Anoka-Hennepin Schools, the largest district in the state, and Moorhead Area Public Schools voted Monday night on mask requirements for the upcoming school year. 

Related: List of Twin Cities school districts with, without, and undecided on mask mandate

With Anoka-Hennepin's vote, 11 of the 15 largest districts in Minnesota now have mask mandates for some or all students, staff and visitors to start the year, the Pioneer Press notes

Emotions were high during both meetings, with dozens of community members attending both in favor of and in opposition to masking requirements. 

Related [Aug 24]: With 2021 school year approaching, child COVID vaccination rates still lag

State and federal health officials recommend students wear face masks — regardless of vaccination status — as one of the measures to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. 

Here are the details on the new mask mandates: 

Anoka-Hennepin

Anoka-Hennepin Schools approved a resolution Monday that requires universal indoor masking for all people in kindergarten through sixth-grade settings, regardless of vaccination status. 

Previously, the district said it would recommend face coverings during the upcoming school year.

According to the district's website, here are the updates to its COVID-19 mitigation plan that were approved Monday: 

  • Masks will be required in K-6 settings when the COVID-19 case levels are greater than 15 per 10,000, which is released by the Minnesota Department of Health on the Weekly Case Rate by County of Residence data report.
  • Updates on the mask requirements will be provided on Fridays after MDH's weekly report is published. 
  • Because sixth-graders are in buildings with older kids, sixth-grade students are defined as classrooms where the entire classroom is composed of sixth-graders. 
  • Masks for students in grades 7-12 are "strongly recommended" but not required. This will be revisited if county-level data "continues to climb.
  • The mask mandate that links to county-level COVID-19 numbers is in place for the entire school year. 

For more on the district's mitigation plans, click here

Moorhead

The Moorhead School Board voted Monday to require masks for all students, teachers and visitors when school starts in a week. 

While masks are required now, the school board said it would make adjustments to mask mandates and other COVID-19 mitigation measures when local transmission rates decrease. 

Previously, Moorhead Area Public Schools only recommended masks for those who were not vaccinated. 

More than 100 people attended Monday night's meeting, with more people signing up to speak than were eligible for the public comment period, Forum News Service says. Some testified in support of masking, while other parents argued they should get to make choices for their own children, Valley News Live reports.

After the vote, some parents stormed out in tears, reports note.

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