Prince George’s Co. Public Schools ends mask mandate

Prince George’s County Public Schools — the last system in the D.C. area that required students and staff to wear masks — lifted that mandate in early July.

WTOP has obtained a short email, dated July 1, that PGCPS sent to teachers and staff. It states the system was lifting its mask mandate — an announcement that has not been clear to many parents.

The email stated: “Effective immediately, all PGCPS schools and facilities will be mask optional. Staff are encouraged to exercise good judgment and are expected to be supportive of co-workers’ mask-wearing choices.”

The same day, the system also published its policy change on their website.

On July 7, PGCPS also announced the new policy within an email newsletter to parents. The change in policy was listed among other items about the upcoming school year, including immunizations, online learning and fall class registration.

In late February, PGCPS CEO Monica Goldson wrote an email to parents stating, “I anticipate easing our mask mandate by the end of the school year,” once 80% of the county’s population was vaccinated.

It ended up being one of the last times county leaders would publicly discuss lifting the mandate. When the school year ended in late June, students and staff were still required to wear a mask inside all school buildings.

Communicating the official change in policy has not been entirely consistent.

On Tuesday, the Prince George’s County website still stated “masks are required on public transportation, in public schools, and in businesses that choose to require them.”

The state of Maryland says 81.5% of residents 5 and older in Prince Georges County are considered “fully vaccinated.”

Neighboring Montgomery County, Maryland, dropped its mask mandate in public schools back in March after a unanimous vote by its school board.

Also, public schools in D.C. went mask-optional in March, while state lawmakers in Virginia voted to ban school mask mandates in February.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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