Masks

Education news, analysis, and opinion about research and policy on students and staff wearing face masks in school to combat the spread of the coronavirus

Tracker

Which States Ban Mask Mandates in Schools, and Which Require Masks?
To better understand where school districts can and can't require masks, Education Week is tracking state-level school mask mandates.
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
A staff member holds the door open at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas in 2020. This year, Texas has prohibited school districts from requiring all students to wear masks.
Mikala Compton/Herald-Zeitung via AP
Federal Feds to Probe Whether Texas Ban on School Mask Mandates Violates Disability Rights Laws
The Education Department has already opened investigations in six other states that ban universal school mask requirements.
Evie Blad, September 21, 2021
2 min read
School & District Management Letter to the Editor School Mask Mandates: Pandemic, ‘Panicdemic,’ or Personal?
"A pandemic is based on facts. A 'panicdemic' is based on fears. Today, we have both," writes a professor.
September 21, 2021
1 min read
Students line up to have their temperature taken as they return for the first time as their school, The Learning Community, reopens to in-person learning after it closed for the pandemic a year ago, in Central Falls, R.I., on March 29, 2021.
Students line up to have their temperature taken as they return for the first time as their school, The Learning Community, reopens to in-person learning after it closed for the pandemic a year ago, in Central Falls, R.I., on March 29, 2021.
David Goldman/AP
Law & Courts Families Sue Rhode Island's Governor to Overturn His School Mask Mandate
The families say mask-wearing threatens to cause serious and long-lasting damage on their children's physical and emotional well-being.
Linda Borg, The Providence Journal, September 17, 2021
2 min read
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Aug. 18, 2021. The on-again, off-again ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students is back in force. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, Sept. 10, that a Tallahassee judge should not have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Aug. 18, 2021. The on-again, off-again ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students is back in force. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, Sept. 10, that a Tallahassee judge should not have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban.
Marta Lavandier/AP
Law & Courts Federal Judge Denies Parents' Suit to Block Florida's Ban on School Mask Mandates
The parents argued that their children, due to health conditions, were at particular risk if any of their peers attend school without masks.
David Goodhue, Miami Herald, September 16, 2021
3 min read
Mariah Vaughn, a 15-year-old Highland Park student, prepares to receive a COVID-19 vaccine during the vaccine clinic at Topeka High School on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021.
Mariah Vaughn, 15, a student at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kan., prepares to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at her school in August.
Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP
School & District Management From Our Research Center Educators' Support for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Is Rising Dramatically
Nearly 60 percent of educators say students who are old enough to receive COVID vaccines should be required to get them to attend school.

Holly Kurtz, September 16, 2021
4 min read
Julia Longoria has joined a federal lawsuit by Disability Rights Texas against Texas Governor Greg Abbott over his ban on mask mandates in public schools. Longoria argues that the executive order prevents her child, Juliana, who is medically at-risk, from being able to attend school safely. Juliana Ramirez, 8, a third grader at James Bonham Academy in San Antonio, Texas, has ADHD and severe asthma which puts her at risk of complications from COVID-19.
Julia Longoria has joined a federal lawsuit by Disability Rights Texas against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over his ban on mask mandates in public schools. Longoria argues that the executive order prevents her child, Juliana, 8, who is medically at risk, from being able to attend school safely.
Julia Robinson for Education Week
Families & the Community 'I Need You to Wear a Mask to Protect My Child.' A Mom Fights for Vulnerable Students
Some parents see a tension between their medically vulnerable children's safety and their educational needs during the pandemic.
Evie Blad, September 16, 2021
8 min read
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Austin Police Association in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 10, 2020.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Austin Police Association in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 10, 2020.
Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP
Law & Courts Texas Attorney General Sues More School Districts That Require Masks
The Texas attorney general's office anticipates filing more lawsuits against districts flouting the governor’s order. Will Dallas be next?
Talia Richman, The Dallas Morning News, September 15, 2021
4 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
Andrew Ujifusa, September 10, 2021
3 min read
In this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the media in Frankfort, Ky. Kentucky's governor said Sunday, Oct. 11, that he will quarantine after a member of his security detail who drove with his family the day before later tested positive for COVID-19. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said he and his family feel fine, show no coronavirus symptoms and have tested negative for the virus.
In this Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the media in Frankfort, Ky.
Timothy D. Easley/AP
States Kentucky Ends All Statewide Mask Mandates After Governor's Vetoes Overridden
The Republican-led legislation strips the Democratic governor's ability to issue statewide mask mandates in schools or anywhere else.
Jack Brammer and Alex Acquisto, Lexington Herald-Leader, September 10, 2021
4 min read
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody speaks alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference, Thursday, April 8, 2021, at PortMiami in Miami.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody speaks alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference, Thursday, April 8, 2021, at PortMiami in Miami.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Law & Courts Florida Attorney General Joins Mask Mandate Legal Fight as State Defies Court Ruling
Fla. Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, said school districts must comply with the ban on mask mandates.
Ana Ceballos, Miami Herald, September 2, 2021
4 min read
Emily Jeter helps her son Eli, a kindergarten student, get his mask on before heading into class at Jenks East Elementary School, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Tulsa, Okla.
Emily Jeter helps her son Eli, a kindergarten student, get his mask on before heading into Jenks East Elementary School in Tulsa, Okla., earlier this month.
Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Higher Rates of Delta Infection Projected in Schools With No Mask Mandate or COVID Testing
Models project higher rates of infection among students without careful adherence to masking, testing, and other strategies.
Sarah D. Sparks, September 1, 2021
7 min read
Students sit in an Algebra class at Barbara Coleman Senior High School on the first day of school, in Miami Lakes, Fla., on Aug. 23, 2021. Florida school districts can legally require their students to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a judge ruled Friday, Aug, 27, saying Gov. Ron DeSantis overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order banning such mandates.
Students sit in an Algebra class at Barbara Coleman Senior High School on the first day of school, in Miami Lakes, Fla., on Aug. 23, 2021. Florida school districts can legally require their students to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a judge ruled Friday, Aug, 27, saying Gov. Ron DeSantis overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order banning such mandates.
Marta Lavandier/AP
School & District Management Florida Withholds School Board Salaries Over Mask Mandates
The state is withholding money to penalize districts that defy the ban on mask mandates, despite a ruling deeming that ban unconstitutional.
Scott Travis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, August 31, 2021
5 min read
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021.
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles in April 2021.
Jae C. Hong/AP
Federal Education Department Opens Civil Rights Probes in 5 States That Ban School Mask Mandates
The move on behalf of students with disabilities deepens the fight over masks between the Biden administration and GOP governors.
Evie Blad, August 30, 2021
4 min read
School & District Management Interactive Masks, Vaccines & Testing: How the Biggest City School Districts Are Operating This Year
This tracker follows key operating protocols and requirements for some of America’s largest school districts.
Tonya Harris, August 30, 2021
1 min read