TOWSON, Md. — -----UPDATE-----
The school system has moved up the start day of indoor masking requirements to August 10.
Officials released additional details of what protocols parents can expect to be in place for when their child returns to school.
One is, if a classmate develops COVID in school, students who are wearing masks and maintaining at least three feet of physical distancing will not be required to quarantine.
The other is a rule requiring unvaccinated adults to quarantine if they come within six feet of an infected person for 15 or more minutes.
Baltimore County Public Schools will require universal masking for students, staff, and visitors when the new academic year starts.
In making their decision, school officials cited the American Academy of Pediatrics and new guidance released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which called for everyone in K-12 schools to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status.
The new policy comes as COVID-19 cases begin to rise throughout the nation, thanks in large part to the highly contagious Delta Variant.
“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our students, families, and employees,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams. “Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to impact our community. Universal masking is an important part of our multifaceted approach to mitigate the spread of COVID while keeping schools open for in-person learning.”
WMAR-2 News has reached out to other school systems throughout the state to find out if or when they too will require masks.
So far only one other district has made a decision, while others say the matter is under discussion.
Queen Anne's County Public Schools will not require masks except for on buses, but said they will encourage those not vaccinated to wear one.
As of Wednesday, there have been 266 cases of the Delta Variant detected in Maryland.
According to health officials, just 0.07 percent of vaccinated state residents have received any type of breakthrough infection related to COVID-19.
"With our youngest children not yet able to be vaccinated and with the growing spread of the Delta variant, it’s critically important we take steps to minimize the spread of Covid-19,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “I applaud the decision by BCPS to adopt the CDC’s latest recommendations, and I encourage every County resident who is eligible to receive a vaccine to do so as soon as possible.”
The Baltimore County Board of Education will hold a special meeting on the new policy August 3 at 10am.