MMSD to require outdoor masking at all elementary and middle schools

School officials said the requirement applies to staff, families and visitors at the district's middle and elementary schools

MADISON, Wis. — Elementary and middle school students enrolled in the Madison Metropolitan School District will now have to wear masks at all outdoor events, the district announced Wednesday.

School officials said the requirement applies to staff, families and visitors at the district’s middle and elementary schools. It also applies to all after-school childcare and activities.

The new requirement will remain in place through the first quarter of the 2021-22 school year.

District spokesperson Tim LeMonds said in a statement that the decision was made “to stay ahead of evolving risks associated with the Delta variant on unvaccinated children.” No COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in children younger than 12.

Officials with Public Health Madison & Dane County said in a statement to News 3 Now that they were not consulted on the decision, but they do “recommend people wear face coverings outdoors in crowded spaces where distancing cannot be maintained – which would often include recess.”

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The requirement is the latest rule put in place in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus in district schools. Earlier this week, the district’s school board unanimously passed a resolution calling for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all teachers and staff to help protect younger students who aren’t able to get vaccinated. The resolution asks the plan be presented for discussion by Sept. 20 so board members could vote on it as soon as Sept. 27.

MMSD students will return to school on Thursday and Friday.