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CMSD Students Must Be Masked The First 5 Weeks Of School This Fall

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District will enforce mask wearing in classrooms and for all indoor activities for at least the first five weeks of the fall 2021 academic year. [Jenny Hamel / Ideastream Public Media]
CMSD students, masked, at summer school.

All students and staff with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) will be required to wear masks for at least the first five weeks of the fall 2021 semester. 

CMSD CEO Eric Gordon sent out a video message to students and families detailing COVID-related policies for the new school year, which begins Aug. 23.

Gordon pointed to guidance released July 9 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommending the continued use of masks for all unvaccinated students and adults in schools. 

At the same time, Gordon said, Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 244, which requires “the equal treatment of both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated” and bars Ohio schools from requiring vaccines that do not have the full approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. All the current COVID-19 vaccine options have only provisional FDA approval.

“Therefore, for the first five weeks of school or until updated CDC guidance is released with different recommendations, all semester, students, employees and school guests, including those that are fully vaccinated, will be expected to continue mask usage at school and during indoor school events and activities, as recommended by the CDC,” Gordon said in the video message.

CMSD also will continue to maintain the three-foot social distancing requirement whenever practical, Gordon said, and personal protective equipment and sanitation practices will remain in place. All students and adults will continue to use the touchless thermometers and all CMSD campuses will have a full-time school nurse starting in the new school year. 

“While implementing these COVID safety measures during the first several weeks of school, CMSD will also be offering vaccination clinics for any student over the age of 11 and to any member of the student’s family. And we’ll continue to offer free, voluntary COVID-19 testing throughout the district as well,” Gordon said in the video.

For those choosing not to attend class in person, CMSD will offer “formal, remote school staffed by 60 teachers and educators this fall,” Gordon said.

No student will be prohibited from attending in-person learning the full five days a week, he said.


Jenny Hamel is the host of the “Sound of Ideas.”