DCPS drops outdoor mask mandate; masks still required indoors

Public schools in D.C. are easing some of their COVID-19 restrictions.

In a letter to families Tuesday, Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said students, staff and visitors to D.C. public schools will no longer have to wear masks when outdoors at schools. They’re still required while indoors.

And the attendance limits for sporting events, performances and student showcases have also been lifted, Ferebee said. Masks will still be required at indoor events, and individual schools can still set limits on individual events if they want.

The move comes after only 174 of 46,000 Safe Return tests submitted at the end of the February break were positive.

The school system is also following the new criteria from DC Health on isolation. If a child who tests positive has moderate, mild or no symptoms, and they test negative on the fifth day after their positive test or the onset of symptoms, they can stop isolating and return to school beginning on Day 8; they have to wear a mask until after Day 10. If they test positive after Day 5, they have to wait to return to school until at least after Day 10.

Children with severe symptoms, or who are immunocompromised, have to isolate at least 10 days after their symptoms started, and may have to test again.

The announcement comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new recommendations saying healthy people, including students in schools, could safely drop mask-wearing indoors in areas where COVID-19 community levels are low. That includes nearly all of the D.C. area.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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