Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced Thursday all students, teachers and staff must wear masks indoors when classrooms reopen in late August. There will be no exceptions to the rule.
AP reports Chief Executive Officer José Torres said the universal mask policy is based on feedback from local, state and federal public health experts and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The requirement comes in the wake of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidance issued Monday recommending children over the age of two should wear masks as they return to school.
Visitors to Chicago school buildings will henceforth be required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. Masks can be removed while eating or drinking and while students are engaged in outdoor activities, Torres told parents in a letter.
The restriction comes as the push for compulsory masks across the wider community gathers strength with calls for the Biden administration to enforce new masking mandates.
“Continuing to require masks will help make sure those in our school communities who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, which encompasses the majority of our students, remain as safe as possible,” Torres explained.
The letter lays out additional coronavirus measures that CPS is taking, including social distancing and dividing students between the classroom and cafeteria during lunch hours to spread them out.
More than 50,000 children under the age of 18 have already been vaccinated across the city, according to the city’s Department of Public Health. About 350,000 students attend Chicago Public Schools.
The district recently launched a coronavirus vaccination effort, opening clinics in three high school in an effort to inoculate students before the new school year.
As the drive to vaccinate children goes on, the push for mask mandates in children is drawing a strong response from parent groups opposed to the idea, as Breitbart News reported.
Google-owned YouTube censored and then reinstated a video featuring several concerned parents speaking out against mask mandates on their children. https://t.co/oRacv6hQEE
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 16, 2021
In Georgia, Atlanta Public Schools announced Thursday it will implement a “universal mask wearing” policy in all of the system’s school buildings when fall classes begin.
Last weekend Los Angeles County re-imposed its indoor mask mandate, applying to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
The Associated Press contributed to this story