Prince George’s Co. public schools return to mandatory mask policy

Prince George’s County public schools are requiring masks again ahead of the new academic year, citing the spread of a highly contagious COVID-19 Omicron subvariant.

The Maryland school district said Friday that it had returned to a mandatory mask policy in all schools and facilities until further notice due to the easily spread BA.5 Omicron strain, which has spread farther and faster than its predecessors and fueled a rise in community transmission rates across the country.

In an email to the school community, administrators said they made the decisions on recommendation from county health officials. PGCPS had transitioned to a mask-optional policy in July, the first time it had dropped mandatory masking since the onset of the pandemic.

“Mask policy is subject to change according to local and/or state health department guidance and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations,” PGCPS said in the email.

Donna Christy, president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, told WTOP that the union supports the move. In a poll of its members a few weeks ago, she said, around 60% favored the return of a mask mandate.

Prince George’s County students go back to classes on Aug. 29.

WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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