Updated August 3, 2021
View the Department's
COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidance for School Year 2021-22.
Below are highlights from the guidance.
Correct and consistent mask use is a core essential strategy to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 in schools and the community. When people wear a mask correctly and consistently, they protect others as well as themselves.
must always be worn correctly and consistently by all students and staff when indoors.
- The only exception is for eating and drinking.
- Students and staff
do not need to wear masks in most outdoor settings.
- Students and staff should wear masks in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people.
- Schools may elect to require that masks be worn in outdoor settings to simplify procedures for identification of contacts when a person with COVID-19 infection is identified.
- Schools should be supportive of students and staff who choose to wear a mask outdoors.
Face shields should not be used as a substitute for masks because of a lack of evidence of their effectiveness. A face shield provides eye protection for the person wearing it (e.g., in the event of bodily fluid splashes) and not respiratory protection.
In general, students and staff do not need to wear masks when outdoors (e.g., participating in outdoor play, recess, and physical education activities).
When physical education activities or recess is held indoors, students and staff must wear a mask.
Maximize physical distancing as much as possible when in food service lines and while eating. Improve ventilation in food preparation, service, and seating areas.
Use additional spaces for mealtime seating such as the gymnasium or outdoor seating to facilitate physical distancing.
Layer mitigation strategies during eating and drinking indoors, such as: Cohorting, assigning seats, having students and staff sit facing the same direction.
There is no need to limit food service approaches to single-use items and packaged meals.
Students and staff who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic do not have to quarantine following a known exposure, allowing continued participation in in-person education and extracurricular activities.
A close contact is defined as within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 infection for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (regardless of mask use). Only unvaccinated persons identified as close contacts will be required to quarantine.
Exception: In a K-12 indoor classroom setting, where everyone is wearing a mask correctly and consistently, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff or other adults in the indoor classroom setting, nor does this apply to students who were eating or drinking and not wearing masks.
Unvaccinated students and staff who are close contacts of a person with COVID-19 infection must quarantine for 10 days and should be tested. Unvaccinated students and staff who are close contacts can return to school when both of the following conditions are met: At least 10 days have passed since the last contact with the infected person, and no symptoms.
Schools should not require a negative COVID-19 test or a clinician’s note to return to school if the person has completed 10 days of quarantine and meets the conditions above.