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Anoka-Hennepin Schools May Require Indoor Masking When Local COVID Cases Spike

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota's largest school district may require some students to wear masks when they return to class.

The board of Anoka-Hennepin Schools passed a resolution Monday evening, by a vote of four to one, that will require all teachers, staff, visitors, and K-5 students to be masked at all times indoors "when the COVID-19 case levels are greater than 15 per 10,000 as communicated by the Minnesota Department of Health on the Weekly Case Rate by County of Residence data report." If that threshold is met, sixth graders would also have to wear masks, but only indoors.

The guidance will be linked, however, to which county the school is in, and its particular masking requirements. Masks are still required on all school buses due to federal guidelines, and the Minnesota State High School League decides the masking policy for student athletes and activities.

Anoka-Hennepin students will also be in-person five days a week. The district says based on the data right now, school would begin with the mask mandate in place. The district plans to give updates weekly.

Several other Minnesota school districts -- including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Edina, Eden Prairie, Roseville and St. Cloud, among others – are requiring universal indoor masking at all times for the entire school year.

The spread of the more-contagious delta variant is showing few signs of slowing in Minnesota, which is averaging more than 20 cases a day per 100,000 residents -- a case-growth level that's significantly above what officials consider "high risk."

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