Face masks will be optional for Miami-Dade County Public Schools students when outdoors and socially distanced for the remainder of the school year and during summer activities.
A district public health task force made the decision Tuesday in light of the CDC's new relaxed mask-wearing guidance for people who are fully vaccinated.
Wearing face masks indoors is still mandatory. The district may revisit that policy in time for summer school.
A decision on the 2021-22 school year is expected to be made closer to August, but Superintendent Alberto Carvalho expects mask-wearing to be voluntary.
Children as young as 12 years old are able to get the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. Miami-Dade County Public Schools is hosting vaccination events at several schools around the county for students, staff, employees and their families to get the vaccine.
United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats issued the following statement:
“While we respect the CDC guidelines, we must also recognize that we only have fifteen days left of school. Our educators believe it would be more prudent and less disruptive to have our students continue wearing face masks on our school campuses. As we wrap up the school year and children are already in the habit of following safety protocols, regardless of their location or activity, wearing face masks continues to provide another layer of protection. Young children, who are also not yet eligible for the vaccine and have a harder time staying socially distant, are much more prone to losing items such as a mask during times of recess, which would then present unnecessary challenges and additional stress to our teachers and staff upon them needing to reenter our buildings and classrooms. Let’s continue to support our educators in these last few days and keep all of our families as safe as possible heading into summer. We continue to encourage all those eligible to get vaccinated.”