On Sept. 22, Florida's surgeon general instituted a rule that gives parents and legal guardians "sole discretion" over masking in schools. On Nov. 5, a judge sided with the state health department in a legal challenge to rule. On Nov. 18, Gov. DeSantis signed a bill that allows parents to sue school districts that require masks.
This page is no longer being updated. The last data update was on May 23, 2022.
Over the course of the 2021-22 school year states adopted a range of policies around mask wearing in K-12 schools.
According to Education Week, 18 states and the District of Columbia required masks to be worn in schools at some point during the 2021-22 school year. By the end of May, all but one of those states — Hawaii — had dropped their requirement.
Meanwhile, 11 states had at some point during the school year banned school districts from setting universal mask mandates.
One state, Virginia, shifted over the course of the school year from requiring the wearing of masks to banning mask mandates.
The remaining 22 states did not issue state-level mandates, which allowed districts to set their own mask policies.
It’s worth noting:
- At the start of the school year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended universal indoor masking in schools. In February, the agency relaxed that recommendation.
- Some state-wide mask policies included exemptions for certain districts, schools, groups, or individuals.
- States that banned school districts from enacting universal mask mandates had policies that varied. Some forbade districts from setting mask mandates. Others required districts that had them to allow students or their parents to opt out for any reason, effectively preventing a universal requirement.
- State-wide mask policies shifted throughout the school year as state officials changed course or courts ruled to block or halt them.
- Additionally, in some states, policies were unclear or outright defied by individual districts.
This information is no longer being updated. The last data update was on May 23, 2022.
MASK MANDATE BAN IN EFFECT
MASK MANDATE BAN BLOCKED, SUSPENDED, OR NOT BEING ENFORCED
MASK REQUIREMENT IN EFFECT
PREVIOUSLY HAD MASK REQUIREMENT
In January 2022, the Missouri attorney general, Eric Schmitt, sued some school districts that required masks, citing a November ruling by a county judge that said local health orders tied to COVID-19 were illegal. (The ruling was interpreted differently by different districts.) The state’s treasurer announced he would also crack down on schools with mask mandates. In mid-March, Schmitt began dropping lawsuits against school districts that no longer required masks. On May 19, 2022 Schmitt announced new lawsuits against several districts that had reinstated mask requirements.
On Feb. 23, 2022, New Hampshire’s governor announced the state was no longer recommending universal indoor masking and therefore schools have to end mask mandates, arguing they violate state education department rules. Soon after, the department advised districts that the mandates “are inconsistent with” their rules. There’s disagreement over whether districts still have the authority to require masks, but at least one district changed its policy in response. A bill that would have banned mask mandates was vetoed by Gov. Sununu in May 2022.
Updated 5/23/2022 | Sources: Local media reports, Education Week reporting | Learn more here
Evie Blad, Staff Writer; Hyon-Young Kim, Senior Digital News Specialist; Holly Peele, Library Director; and Lesly Moore, Digital News Specialist contributed to this article.