DC Public Schools Lifts Outdoor Mask Mandate

Masks Are Still Required for All Indoors

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Students play on the playground at J.O. Wilson Elementary (660 K St. NE). File: E.O'Gorek/CCN

In a letter emailed to families Tuesday afternoon, DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis Ferebee announced that effective immediately, students, staff and visitors are no longer required to wear masks outdoors on school property. All are still required to mask up inside school buildings.

Students returned to classrooms Monday after spring break. DCPS said nearly 46,000 students submitted test results as part of the test-to-return program; of those, DCPS said, only 174 were positive results.

Other measures have also been relaxed as of Mar. 1. DCPS will no longer set limits on audience members at sporting or arts events, although individual schools can impose their own regulations. Masks must still be worn at indoor events.

The move comes the day that the indoor mask mandate was lifted for most indoor facilities in the District, including restaurants, bars, concert venues and gyms. Masks are still required indoors at congregate living settings, hospitals and health care facilities, front-facing government offices and on public transit.

At her Feb. 14 announcement of the rollback, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) was asked if the mandate would be lifted indoors for schools, but demurred, deferring to Chancellor Ferebee and DCPS.

DCPS said they would follow DC Health’s new guidance for how long an individual should isolate after they test positive, which varies based on the severity of the infection and level of testing, regardless of vaccination status.

Updated Isolation Guidance for DCPS Students and Staff. Mar. 1, 2022. Image: DCPS