US At least nine of the 20 largest school districts in the US making masks optional for students
Arizona governor says schools can't force unvaccinated students to quarantine if they're exposed to Covid-19
Arizona's governor has told two school districts its policy requiring unvaccinated students exposed to Covid-19 to quarantine is against state law. © Ross D. Franklin/AP Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's education adviser sent a letter to two school districts stating a mandatory quarantine practice is contrary to state law. Gov. Doug Ducey's education adviser sent a letter to the districts stating the mandatory quarantine practice is contrary to state law because Arizona does not require students to be vaccinated or wear a face covering to attend school.
As the new school year quickly approaches, at least nine of the 20 largest school districts in the US are making masks optional for students in school while another nine are requiring masks.
Two districts remain undecided with just weeks left until schools plan to open their doors.
With varying rules for indoors and outdoors, and with vaccines only available to children older than 12, back-to-school is not as clear cut as parents might have hoped it would be. And whatever the rules are today, the districts are making it clear that they will continue to change their guidance according to local public health conditions even after the school year starts.
Overnight Health Care: Delta fears grip economy as US cases jump | Pediatric group recommends masks for students over 2 | Federal judge will not block Indiana University's vaccine mandate
Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. It's not a baby whale. A giant multi-colored fish washed ashore in Oregon, in what was big news for the local aquarium. If you have any tips, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8. Today: The stock market plunged amid concerns over the delta variant. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended universal mask wearing for all students older than 2 years old, and a federal judge decided not to block Indiana University's vaccine requirement.
For now, masks will be required in the three largest school districts: New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Chicago Public Schools announced that "masks will be worn by all in schools" in a tweet Thursday. In-person classes will return on August 30. Schools will maintain physical distancing of three feet where possible and will keep their cleaning and sanitizing measures in place, according to a release.
Public school districts in Philadelphia; Fairfax County, Virginia; Hawaii's Public Schools; and Prince George's County, Maryland, will also require masks.
In two North Carolina districts, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County and Wake County, masks are required for now. But state Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order requiring masks in schools is set to expire on July 31. It's unclear whether the order will be extended on a state level, or whether the decision will be left to the districts after that.
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The majority of the districts making mask-wearing optional in schools are in Florida and Texas, where the governors have enacted executive orders which ban mask mandates in school, but don't prevent students from wearing a mask if they wish to do so.
For now, masks are optional in Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Orange, Palm Beach, and Duval counties in Florida, as well as Houston and Dallas Independent School Districts. One other Florida county, Broward, will decide its policy at its next school board meeting on July 27.
Over the last week, Florida leads the nation and Texas is third in the averages of daily new cases. Florida reported more than 45,000 new cases, and Texas reported more than 32,000 new cases in the past week, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis indicated on Thursday he would challenge the federal government or any local district that tries to make masks mandatory.
Texas Lawmakers Urge Gov. Abbott to Reverse Mask Mandates Ban in Schools, Cite Delta Variant
"The parents and school officials who have contacted us are worried about these children and want to see districts be given the autonomy they need to decide what is best for their students," read the petition.In a petition sent to the governor on Friday, WFAA reported, 31 legislators called on Abbott, a Republican, to reverse a ban on mask mandates in schools and provide virtual learning options for students this fall.
"There's been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level, imposing compulsory masks on kids," DeSantis said. "We're not doing that in Florida, OK? We need our kids to breath. We need our kids to be able to be kids."
Masks are optional in Gwinnett County, the largest school district in Georgia, and in Montgomery County, Maryland. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's statewide face covering mandate was lifted as of July 1.
Clark County, Nevada, the nation's fifth largest district, had put out earlier guidance for its summer school program that mask usage would be based on grade level, with masks optional for grades K-3, required for grades 4-5, and optional for grades 6-12.
A representative from the district told CNN on Friday, "Regarding the upcoming school year, which begins August 9, we are still reviewing policies in conjunction with local health officials."
The district did not make it clear when its guidance would be updated.
If we want kids back in school and the economy to prosper, more of the US needs to get vaccinated, expert says .
The United States is facing a pivotal moment in the coronavirus pandemic, given that the Delta variant is spurring surges in cases and hospitalizations: It must increase vaccinations or risk magnifying the impact, the surgeon general said. © Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images First grade student Daniel Cano, 5, and his mom, Sonia Cano, walk past Covid-19 safety precaution, social distancing and hand washing signs at a L.A. Unified "meet and greet" with its medical advisers.