Duluth Schools to require masks for all starting Monday

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Masks will be required inside all Duluth School buildings beginning Monday, August 9. District officials made the announcement on Thursday that the district will require indoor mask wearing for students age 2 and older, ISD 709 employees and the public unless medically exempted, regardless of vaccination status. This requirement runs until further notice and a final decision for the 2021-22 school year will be shared by August 24.

“We need to do all that we can to ensure in-person learning for all students this school year,” John Magas, Superintendent of ISD 709 said in a press release. “None of us are excited to return to mask wearing but we know it’s an effective tool for slowing COVID transmission, especially as the Delta variant continues to rise dramatically across the country and in Minnesota.”

The district made this decision based on updated guidance from the CDC, MN Department of Health and MN Department of Education. Health officals revised recommendations at the end of July. The CDC recommended that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. That is on top of recommending that people in high risk areas wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

The St. Louis County Health Department has also recommended indoor mask wearing for all due to Substantial Community Spread. Masks will continue to be required on school buses per a federal mandate.

“In addition to mask wearing we strongly encourage people 12 years and older to get vaccinated,” Magas said in the release. “Getting vaccinated is one of the best things we can do to prevent getting or spreading COVID, to keep the local rates down and ensure safe in-person learning this school year.”

Magas said the district will continue to work closely with the St. Louis County Department of Health, MN Department of Health and MN Department of Education to monitor local COVID rates and state and federal guidance.

Children under 2 years of age or people of any age who are unable to tolerate wearing a face covering because of a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability are not required to wear a face covering.