Duluth Public Schools announced Thursday it will require masks to be worn inside all district buildings beginning Monday, regardless of vaccination status.

Masks will be required for students age 2 and older, employees and the public unless medically exempt. This requirement runs until further notice and a final decision for the upcoming school year will be shared by Aug. 24.

“We need to do all that we can to ensure in-person learning for all students this school year,” Superintendent John Magas said in a news release. “None of us are excited to return to mask-wearing, but we know it’s an effective tool for slowing COVID-19 transmission, especially as the delta variant continues to rise dramatically across the country and in Minnesota.”

This change comes after recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education were made last week that all students, teachers, staff and visitors in school buildings should wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. The St. Louis County Health Department also recommended indoor mask-wearing recently.

Masks will also be required on school buses due to a federal mandate.

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“In addition to mask-wearing, we strongly encourage people 12 years and older to get vaccinated,” Magas said. “Getting vaccinated is one of the best things we can do to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19, to keep the local rates down and ensure safe in-person learning this school year.”

Magas said the district will continue to work closely with the St. Louis County Department of Health, state Department of Health and Department of Education to monitor local COVID-19 rates and state and federal guidance.

“These safety protocols are subject to change as conditions and guidance changes,” Magas said. “As we approach the beginning of the school year, we’ll continue to share information with staff and families, including any updates to COVID-19 safety protocols.”