By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland State Department of Education received approval of a statewide masking requirement for all public schools.

This emergency regulation will be in effect for 180 days. The regulation requires any person inside a public school to wear a face covering, with certain exemptions in place.

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This is necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland public schools, prevent school closures, and limit the number of students required to quarantine out of the classroom.

“Our foremost priority as a Board is always the safety of everyone in our school buildings – we take the health and safety of students and school staff in every part of our State very seriously,” said Board President Clarence C. Crawford. “Circumstances require the need for a universal, statewide approach to masking in schools to keep our school communities safe and give every one of Maryland’s students the opportunity to learn in-person with as few interruptions as possible.”

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“Masking inside schools helps protect our students, teachers and school staff as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury. “It is critical that all school systems follow this emergency law, and immediately implement face-covering requirements as one of several layered public health strategies to keep schools open and safe.”

Nearly all, 22 of 24, local school systems require face coverings inside schools. Local systems may establish and implement further masking policies and procedures in addition to the minimum requirements outlined in the emergency regulation.

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The new regulation will be enforced immediately.

CBS Baltimore Staff