The federal agency says masks are only required on school buses.
Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick County Public School System will be following the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention guidance when the new academic year begins on August 18th. Brandon Oland, the Communications Manager for FCPS, says there will be no mask requirements in school buildings. “When it comes to masks. there’s just one place where it is required to wear masks and that is on our school buses. Our students on school buses and our drivers on buses are wearing masks. And that is following federal guidance for mass transportation,” he says.
The CDC guidance, which is not mandatory, also says students, teachers and other staff do not need to wear masks if they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.
As for whether students will be required to get vaccinated against COVID, “only ages 12 and up are eligible for the vaccine right now,” says Oland. “‘We can’t make vaccinations mandatory at this time. And that’s consistent with the guidance we’ve received from the Maryland Department of Health. So that’s not something that’s mandatory for the start of the 2021–22 school year.”
But other vaccinations for children to attend school are still required.
The CDC is also recommending social distancing of three feet in the classrooms. “There’s the possibility for sure that we’re going to have classrooms of more than 20 students in a lot of instances,” Oland says. “We will continue to social distance when it’s applicable when we can.”
He says FCPS is looking forward to a school year without a mask mandate and social distancing being less of a concern as COVID-19 infections are declining. But the Delta variant is out there. “The truth of the matter is we’re in a global health crisis,” he says. “And we don’t know how health metrics will change in our community.”
Oland says the School System is being flexible and can make changes, and those changes will need to come from the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Health Department.
He says parents who have questions about school year can go on line to FCPS.org\backtoschool, or call their child’s school.
By Kevin McManus