HARFORD COUNTY, Md. — The Board of Education of Harford County has voted to lift the mask mandate in all Harford County Public Schools school buildings and facilities, making masks optional for students, staff, and visitors who wish to wear them.
The change will take effect tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1.
Officials said the vote comes after conversations with local health officials following the Maryland State Board of Education and the Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review vote to lift the state mask mandate for schools.
When it came to a vote, the motion to make masks optional passed unanimously.
"It has been a long two years," said board member Dr. Roy Philips. "We are all tired, but it is time. We need to move on."
Harford County is now at what's considered a "low community level" for COVID-19. The community level metric is a new CDC tool to help areas decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high, and are determined by looking at hospital beds in use, hospital admissions and a total number of an area's new COVID-19 cases.
Masks will also be optional on school buses, when those buses are carrying out school-related functions.
For those who wish to continue to wear masks, officials with Harford County Public School said they will have masks on hand to give out.