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Baltimore City Public Schools Dropping Its Mask Mandate On March 14

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Starting later this month, masks will no longer be required in Baltimore City schools, the school district announced Wednesday.

Citing updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the district said the mask requirement will be dropped for school campuses on March 14. The requirement will be lifted for Central Office staff and visitors on March 7.

The district said the CDC no longer recommends indoor mask wearing in settings where community spread of COVID-19 is low, which is the case in Baltimore City, but it will continue to monitor local conditions and make changes as needed.

Sonja Brookins Santelises, chief executive officer for Baltimore City Public Schools, credited the policy change to efforts within the school system and the community to rein in the transmission of COVID-19.

"The data and guidance from the CDC are clear and unmistakable evidence," Santelises said. "We have followed the advice of health experts, including the Baltimore City Health Department, implemented the proper precautions, and stayed vigilant through the different surges."

Even though masks will be optional moving forward, there are exceptions in place. Masks will be required of close contacts for 10 days after they're exposed, and for those who test positive for 10 days from the start of their isolation.

Baltimore City Public Schools joins neighboring districts, including those in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties, in making masks optional.

Last week, a General Assembly panel voted to rescind the state's school mask mandate following a similar vote from the Maryland State Board of Education.

Maryland's key health metrics have improved significantly in recent weeks after a surge of Omicron cases drove them to record levels in January.


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