Minnesota Dept. of Health, Education Recommends Masks at Minnesota Schools

DULUTH, Minn.– Minnesota Department of Health officials are recommending that all students and staff in K-12 wear a mask even if they are already vaccinated.

State health officials are also recommending that all people age 12 and older get vaccinated against COVID before returning to in-person learning.

“Many Minnesotans are unprotected. Including all of those under age 12,” said MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm.

While none of the MDH’s guidelines are required, officials say the announcement comes as there is a surge in cases in the state. With the seven-day rolling average for new cases at 348 along with a seven-day average of two deaths in the state.

“We’re trying to prevent the spread. It’s critical to protect people,” said Malcolm. “Including students, teachers, and staff who are not fully vaccinated or who have certain medical conditions. Especially in areas of moderate to high community transmission.”

The news comes as Duluth School District leaders announced their plans last week to return to all in-person learning with COVID guidelines in place along with masking for students in the 5th grade or younger, along with staff who work with them. Duluth Superintendent John Magas says education leaders are taking another look at their protocols.

“We’re still taking a little bit of time to make sure that we’re not being too reactionary but we’re being very thoughtful,” said Magas.

Magas says the district will continue to meet with county health leaders as soon as Thursday to decide the best course of action following the new state and federal guidance before sending any modified recommendations to the school board.

“I think some people might have thought that our plan initially was too cautionary in some respects but I would say that the new guidance from the CDC as well as MDH and MDE kind of indicates that our somewhat cautious approach was kinda a foreshadowing of things to come,” said Magas.

The Duluth School District is set to begin the school year during the first week of September.

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