Mask mandate

The Minnesota Department of Education said public schools will continue with its COVID protocols.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday night the state of Minnesota mask mandate will be relinquished on Friday, May 14, with guidance from the Centers of Disease Control releasing information saying those vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask indoors.

While masks won't be required at many places, with just weeks left in the 2020-21 school year, the Minnesota Department of Education said public schools will continue with its COVID protocols.

"The CDC has not yet provided clear guidance for school settings, but has stated that they expect to update guidance for children in school and summer camps soon. Additionally, our youngest Minnesotans remain ineligible for vaccines and eligibility for 12- to 15-year-olds was just announced this week, MDE Commissioner Heather Mueller said.

"As a result, Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan, along with the existing face covering guidance for schools and child care settings, remain in effect. Through the end of the 2020-21 school year (last teacher contact day), masks must continue to be worn by everyone inside school buildings or on a school bus," she added.

Eastern Carver County Schools superintendent Lisa Sayles-Adams said while the public is eager to return to normal, the district will continue to uphold current policies with masks.

"For the moment, and until we are given different guidance, our COVID-19 protocols remain in effect in our school buildings," Sayles-Adams said. "That means that students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, will continue to wear face coverings indoors through the remainder of the school year. Should that guidance change we will update our protocols and inform families as soon as we are able."

Gov. Walz recently set a deadline of July 1 for lifting a mask mandate, hoping for at least 70% of people age 16 and older to receive at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

Thursday's CDC announcement forced Walz to change his tune and move up the timetable. He is expected to sign an executive order on May 14.

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