Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland will end its indoor mask mandate next week, CEO Monica Goldson said in a note to the school community.
In a newsletter highlighting moments from the first day of school across the county, Maryland’s second-largest school system said it plans to implement a mask-optional policy beginning Sept. 6.
Prince George’s County is the only D.C.-area jurisdiction that had a mask mandate on the first day of classes.
“All staff, students and families are encouraged to support personal decisions on mask-wearing,” the message said. “PGCPS will continue to make health and safety decisions in consultation with health experts.”
Earlier this month, the county announced plans to reinstate its indoor mask mandate, noting the high transmissibility of the omicron subvariant.
The school system said it made the decision to require masks at the start of the year based on a recommendation from county health officials.
Donna Christy, president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, previously told WTOP that the union supported the move to start the year with a mask requirement. 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 schools initially transitioned to a mask-optional policy in July.
As of Monday night, the county is in the “low” community level as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 77% of residents are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ve received at least two shots, according to CDC data.
WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.