Minneapolis Public Schools lifts mask mandate, eases COVID policies

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Face masks are optional starting Monday in all Minneapolis Public Schools buildings and buses, the district announced on Thursday.

The move comes amid declining COVID-19 infection rates in the Twin Cities and days after St. Paul Public Schools adopted a relaxed mask policy. As of Thursday, Hennepin County had low COVID-19 community transmission, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

In addition to making masks optional in schools, MPS will also get rid of universal contact tracing, meaning families will not always receive an email when someone in a student’s class, athletics team, school bus or extracurricular activity tests positive for COVID-19.

Students who are fully vaccinated and staff who are boosted are no longer required to quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure, and the district halved the quarantine period for those who are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated from 10 days to five days.

“MPS remains committed to maximizing in-person learning, meeting the academic and mental health needs of our students, and providing a safe learning environment for all,” Superintendent Ed Graff said in a statement.