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City Schools to make masks and face coverings optional in schools starting March 14 

Based on the latest guidance from the federal health officials, the use of masks and face coverings will be optional for all persons in Baltimore City Public Schools campuses beginning Monday, March 14, 2022. 

City Schools will continue to evaluate our masking requirement if conditions change in our community and make changes if necessary.

While masks will be optional generally, they will still be required in three cases: 1) close contacts for 10 days after exposure; 2) those recovering from COVID for 10 days from the start of isolation; and 3) someone who develops COVID-like symptoms while at school. 

 City Schools will continue many of its other COVID-19 safeguards including:

  • Masks will still be provided to any student or employee that requests them
  • Weekly testing for students and school staff
  • All staff must be vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption
  • Test-to-Stay quarantines for students or staff that test positive after an initial pooled test at elementary/middle schools
  • Continued use of high-quality air filters or air purifiers
  • Preventative cleaning measures and the use of hand sanitizer

NOTE: City Schools has updated some of its other health protocols. Learn more here.

Below are a set of frequently asked questions about the masking requirement. Check back often, as this FAQ will be updated as necessary.

QUESTION: If I am identified as a close contact, do I have to mask? 

Yes, you must mask for 10 days after coming into close contact with an individual who has COVID. City Schools’ contact tracing team will notify close contacts of exposure. Known close contacts will be required to wear a mask and participate in City Schools’ “test to stay” program. 

Under City Schools’ Pool testing program at the K-8 level, if a pool tests positive the whole class will be asked to mask for 10 days. 

Those who establish close contact with a confirmed COVID case outside of school and are eligible to remain in school due to being vaccinated must also mask for 10 days after exposure. If your student falls into this category, please inform your school and ensure your child comes to school each day with a mask or requests a mask upon arrival at school. 

QUESTION: If I recently completed isolation due to a positive COVID test, do I have to mask? 

Yes. City Schools’ isolation if now 5 days. However, per CDC and state regulations, masking is required between days 6-10.

QUESTION: If a student or staff member has “covid-like symptoms” do they have to mask?

If you or your student develops COVID-like symptoms at home, they should remain at home and should not return to school before the symptoms resolve. Please see our family decision making guide (in Spanish) for more information.

If you or your student develops COVID-like symptoms during the school day, they will be isolated in the wellness room and will receive a COVID-19 test before going home. During this time, they should wear a mask. City Schools will provide any student or staff member in this situation with a mask. 

QUESTION: I want my child to continue to mask at school. What if other students bully my child for masking?

Schools are encouraged to proactively work their community to ensure everyone understands masking is a choice. Resources are being provided to schools to help educators at the different grade levels engage students in conversations about the masking option. 

If you have concerns about how your child is being treated due to your family’s masking decision, please reach out to your principal. City Schools’ website includes resources on bullying and an online reporting system, at this link:

Additionally, if you have specific concerns about masking that cannot be addressed by your school, please email

QUESTION: What should I do if my child is instructed by an adult at school to take off their mask or put on their mask? 

Masking is a choice that should be made by each family. Staff will not instruct students to wear a mask, unless the child is required to mask due to recent exposure or a recent case. If you have concerns about your child’s masking, please reach out to your school for support. Additionally, email us 

QUESTION: My 3- or 4-year-old child is not eligible for vaccination. What supports are available to help my child continue to mask throughout the day?

We understand masking is particularly sensitive for those students too young to be vaccinated, and that our youngest learners often need support from their teachers to ensure their masks stay on throughout the day. Please share your masking preferences with your school and your child’s teacher. We have directed pre-K teachers to support their students’ and families’ masking preferences throughout the day.