The Anne Arundel County Board of Education unanimously voted to lift the mask mandate in county school facilities and make it optional.
This was supporting a recommendation from Superintendent George Arlotto that came after the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland State Department of Education confirmed the county had hit the appropriate threshold to do so.
Masks will become optional in all AACPS buildings on Friday, February 18.
Following the vote, the Anne Arundel County Teachers Union released a statement in support.
"Reaching an 80% vaccination rate in the county is one of three “off-ramps” to lifting the school mask mandate, as regulated by the Maryland State Board of Education. We support the Board of Education’s unanimous vote to make masks optional for students and school staff.
Arlotto also warned there would be no tolerance for any harassment of those choosing whether or not to wear a mask.
"There is no prohibition on students, staff members, or visitors wearing masks in our school buildings and facilities. That is a personal and family choice. I also want to be clear that we have communicated to principals and supervisors this morning that there will be absolutely no tolerance for anyone who wishes to intimidate, tease, or bully anyone else for their choice of whether to wear a mask or not."
Per federal regulations, mask requirements on schools buses will stay in place.
However, spring high school student-athletes will not be subject to the vaccination-or-test program that had been in place during the fall and winter seasons.
Testing for winter student-athletes will continue through the end of their season.