Fighting Against School Mask Mandates

Preserving the Eighth Amendment Right to Freedom of Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Which Includes Being Free from Restraints. i.e. MASKS


Mask Mandates in the US By States as of August 27, 2021


Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

Legislation: None as of now; however, Alabama Rep. Andrew Sorrell has drafted an anti-mask mandate bill.

Summary: Alabama currently does not have a statewide mask mandate, nor does it have a school mask ban. Currently there is no legislation in Alabama, however Alabama Representative Andrew Sorrell has drafted a bill that would stop schools from requiring masks.  

Mask mandates by school district:

  • Early October- Henry County Schools, Geneva County Schools, Dothan City Schools, Houston County Schools, and Geneva City Schools all canceled mask mandates, according to the Dothan Eagle.

  • October 6, 2021 Hoover City Schools, in the Birmingham suburbs, makes masks optional based on the district’s own “Face Covering Matrix Procedures,” which follows the seven-day percentage of student positive cases.

  • October 12, 2021  Bibb County Schools Masks are “strongly encouraged but not required”.

  • October 18, 2021 Mountain Brook Schools made masks optional.

  • October 22, 2021 Coffee County Schools mask mandate lifted.

  • October 19, 2021 Lee County Schools ended its mask mandate. Announced on Twitter here

  • November 1, 2021 Opelika City Schools makes masks optional and Clarke County Schools masks are encouraged but not required.

  • November 19,2021 Tuscaloosa City Schools extended the mask mandate until November 19, according to


Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

Summary: Alaska’s Department of Health Social Services “strongly encourages the wearing of masks in public,” but the state has not required it. 

More Information:


Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban YES (But Blocked by the courts)

Litigation: On September 27, a judge found the ban on mask mandates unconstitutional; Previously, Arizona ban on mask mandate was not in effect until September 29 because, under Arizona law, new laws are effective 90 days after the legislative session ends, which was Sept. 29 this year; On Nov. 2, Arizona Supreme Court upheld that ruling.

Summary:  On March 25, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order lifting all state COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and barring cities and counties from enforcing mask mandates except in government buildings and on public transit. On November 2, the Arizona high court upheld the ruling blocking school mask bans, read more from AP News.

More Information:


    Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban YES (But Blocked by the courts)

    Summary: On March 31, Gov. Asa Hutchinson lifted his 8-month-old mask mandate due to the state meeting targets for COVID-19 case counts. Health officials are continuing to recommend Arkansans to wear masks in public when unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from people outside their households. A new state law bars local governments from imposing mask mandates.

    More Information:


      Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

      Summary: California has a statewide mandate and requires all students to wear masks. In July, Let Them Breathe, a local group that has led opposition efforts against mask mandates sued state leaders to overturn the mask mandate. On November 12,  Judge Cynthia Freeland dismissed the lawsuit filed by Let Them Breathe. In her ruling released Friday, Freeland said Newsom was acting under his emergency authority in enforcing the mask mandate. She added that the state’s guidelines for testing and quarantine are only recommendations, not requirements. 

      More Information: 


        Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

        Summary: On May 14, Gov. Jared Polis announced an end to Colorado’s mask mandate, saying the state is shifting from “mask-wearing requirements to mask-wearing suggestions,” particularly for unvaccinated people in indoor settings. Face-covering may still be required for those without proof of vaccination in some settings, including medical facilities and prisons.

        More Information: 

        Colorado’s health department’s updated mask guidance.

        • August 3, 2021 Denver Public Schools is requiring all students and staff to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

        • September 10, 2021 Jeffco Public Schools and the Poudre School District are also requiring masks.

        • October 1, 2021  Douglas County School District extended its mask mandate despite the expiration of a county order for masking in schools. Dropping the district’s requirement would increase the risk of quarantines and school closures, Superintendent Corey Wise said on Facebook.


          Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

          Summary: After Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order allowing local governments to impose rules more stringent than the state’s, The cities of New Haven and Hartford instituted indoor mask mandates covering both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Masks are required for unvaccinated people aged 2 and over in indoor public places and for all people in school buildings, health care facilities, group residential settings such as nursing homes and prisons, and on public transit.

          More Information:


            Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

            Summary: Gov. John Carney’s statewide school mask mandate goes into effect on Aug. 16.

            More Information:

              District of Columbia 

              Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

              Summary: Mayor Muriel Bowser dropped the District’s mask exemption for fully vaccinated individuals in late July amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. Masks are required in indoor public places for all people over age 2, whether vaccinated or not. Face-covering is also required for all residents in schools, health care facilities and District government buildings and on public transit. 

              More Information: 


              Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban YES

              Litigation: A group of parents filed suit; Judge issued ruling that denied plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction against executive order—ruling plaintiffs should have pursued administrative claims before the lawsuit; September 10, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals judge reinstated state’s ban on school mask mandates– allowing the Florida Department of Education to penalize 13 school districts that require students to wear masks without allowing parents to opt-out of face coverings; Florida Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled (in favor of opt out provisions) that officials from six counties “failed to prove that the ban was ‘an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority.’”

              Summary: On May 3rd, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order May 3 that barred local governments and school systems from imposing COVID-19 restrictions, including mask rules. Florida recommends but has not required face coverings for the general public. Several cities and large counties, including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Hillsborough (which includes Tampa), had mask requirements.

              U.S. sends money to Florida school officials who defied mask ban; Based on the latest ruling, Alachua School District will allow parents of elementary and middle school students to opt out on December 7– and are appealing the ruling

              More Information:


              Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

              Summary: August 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp sought last summer to bar local mask mandates but eased his order to allow cities and counties to impose limited face-covering rules. On July 28, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that the city is reinstating mask requirements for all people in public settings indoors. The governor’s office and the state Department of Public Health recommend masking in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

              More Information: 


              Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

              Summary: On May 24, Gov. David Ige lifted the state’s outdoor mask mandate. Hawaii’s amended mask directive still requires residents ages 5 and up to wear a face-covering in most indoor public settings and requires businesses to refuse admission or service to maskless patrons in most circumstances. “Masks must always be worn correctly and consistently by all students and staff when indoors,” the state’s Department of Education says on its website.

              More Information: 

              Hawaii Public School Reopening Framework


              Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

              Summary:  Mask mandates vary by district. On May 27, while Mr. Little was out of state, Idaho’s lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, also a Republican, issued an executive order banning mask mandates. Governor  Little rescinded the order the following day and denounced Ms. McGeachin’s actions as an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.” Governor Little’s  Executive Order restores local governments’ authority to make their own mask rules. Boise, Idaho’s capital, and largest city dropped its mask mandate in May, as did several other jurisdictions.  However on August 3, 2021 Boise reinstated the mandate.

              More Information:

              • Click here to read: Read Idaho’s updated COVID-19 health guidelines.

              • May 28, 2021 Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, moved the state to Stage 4 of its reopening plan in May, removing recommended gathering size limitations. 

              • August 3, 2021 The Boise School District reinstated the mask mandate.

              • September 2021 The Weiser School District discontinued a temporary mask mandate that was put in place the  Argus Observer reported.


              Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

              Summary: On August 26, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Aug. 26 that the state’s indoor mask order will be expanded Aug. 30 to cover all residents over age 2, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are required for unvaccinated people in indoor public settings and outdoors when unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. The city of Chicago and surrounding Cook County have already instituted similarly broad mandates locally.

              More Information:

              • August 04, 2021  Gov. Pritzker Announces Mask Requirement for Pre-K-12 Schools, Long-Term Care Facilities, to Prevent Spread of Highly Transmissible COVID-19 Delta Variant

              • August 26, 2021 Click here to watch: Pritzker’s Mask Order.

              • Chicago Public Schools and several other Illinois had already mandated universal masking.


              Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

              Summary: On April 6, the state’s 8-month-old mask mandate became a “mask advisory”. Hoosier’s age 8 and up are encouraged to wear masks in all indoor public settings and outdoors when they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Face-covering remains mandatory in state buildings, K-12 schools and at COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites. Local mask orders in Indianapolis and surrounding Marion County expired June 7.

              More Information:


              Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban Yes, but blocked by the state


              • May 20, 2021  HF 847 Iowa school districts cannot require students or staff to wear masks, and Iowa cities and counties cannot impose mask mandates. 

              • August 25, 2021 Iowa mother Frances Parr sues Governor Reynolds, state over mask mandate ban for schools

              • September 13, 2021 The court ruled that the law violates the civil rights of children with disabilities, including children with underlying conditions, who are more vulnerable to severe illness or death as a result of COVID-19. The decision makes clear that children have a right under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to equal access to their education, which for some children with underlying conditions and disabilities, requires that schools implement universal masking requirements. 

              • October 8, 2021 a federal judge extended an order that will prevent state officials from enforcing a law that prohibits school districts from implementing mask requirements until a federal lawsuit challenging the law can be heard.

              • November 18, 2021 State attorneys ask appeals court to restore Iowa’s ban on school mask mandates

              Summary: On May 7, Gov. Kim Reynolds lifted the state’s mask mandate, issuing a new emergency order that drops rules on face-covering and social distancing in favor of encouraging “reasonable public health measures” to reduce COVID-19 transmission in public places and private gatherings. On May 20 Governor Reynolds signed legislation restricting schools’ and local governments’ authority to require masks. On August 19, Iowa City issued a mask mandate covering public places citywide, however, the governor’s office said the order is illegal and unenforceable. On September 13, 2021 A federal district court blocked Iowa’s law prohibiting schools from requiring masks. 

              More Information: 


              Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

              Legislation: Executive Order 2021-585 issued by Governor Andy Beshear on August 10, 2021 required all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in Kentucky Schools (preschool-grade 12) to wear face masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 

              Summary: Kentucky’s general mask mandate ended June 11 along with the state’s remaining COVID-19 health restrictions. On August 10, 2021  Governor Andy Beshear issued Executive Order 2021-585 which required all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in Kentucky Schools (preschool-grade 12) to wear face masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status (see “Legislation”). On August 20, 2021 in Jason Oswald, et al., v. Governor Andy Beshear  a federal judge, issued a temporary restraining order  against Governor Beshear’s mask mandate for students in a legal case involving about 20 families in a Campbell County Catholic school. Due to the legal challenge Governor Beshear  rescinded his order on Aug. 23 even though mandates issued by the state’s education and public health departments remained in place.

              More Information:


              Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

              Summary: Gov. John Bel Edwards cited Louisiana’s “insufficient vaccination rate” and rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in reinstating the state mask order three months after it was lifted effective until September 1, 2021. Face-covering is required in indoor public places for all people age 5 and older, regardless of vaccination status.

              Click here to read: Louisiana’s new mask mandate.

              More Information:

              • August 5, 2021 Governor Edwards issued statewide mask mandate requiring face coverings for everyone age 5 and older or enrolled in kindergarten


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                Summary: As of May 24, Gov. Janet Mills’ latest face-covering order no longer requires masks in most settings, according to the state’s face-covering FAQs. People ages 5 and older still must mask up indoors at schools and child-care facilities. As of August 10, the state continues to recommend masking for people who are not yet fully vaccinated, and some Maine School Districts will require masks, while others won’t.

                More Information:


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                Summary: As of May 24, Gov. Janet Mills’ latest face-covering order no longer requires masks in most settings, according to the state’s face-covering FAQs. People ages 5 and older still must mask up indoors at schools and child-care facilities. As of August 10, the state continues to recommend masking for people who are not yet fully vaccinated, and some Maine School Districts will require masks, while others won’t.

                More Information:


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

                Legislation: On 8/26/2021 The Maryland State Board of Education voted to approve a regulation requiring universal masking, but it needed legislative approval—and on General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review voted on 9/13/2021 to require face masks at all Maryland public schools

                Summary: On July 1, Gov. Larry Hogan ended Maryland’s statewide mask mandate along with all other COVID-19 emergency orders. Masking remains the rule on public transportation and in transit hubs, per a federal mandate. The city of Baltimore and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties outside Washington, D.C., have reimposed local orders requiring most people, vaccinated or not, to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.

                More Information:


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

                Legislation: Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeff Riley issued regulations (after the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave Riley authority) requiring all public school students ages 5 and above to wear masks indoors while at school until at least October 1.

                Summary: On May 29, The state’s general face-covering order was lifted and replaced with an advisory recommending that people who are not fully vaccinated mask up in public places. Masks are still required for people aged 5 and older in some settings, including K-12 schools, health care and long-term care facilities, emergency shelters, prisons and on public transportation. Then on August 20, Boston imposed a citywide mask mandate covering all people over age 2 in indoor public places except when eating or drinking.  The state’s school mask mandate has been extended until Nov. 1, but middle and high schools can apply for an exemption if 80% of students and staff are vaccinated.

                More Information: 


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                Legislation: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) required that all persons five years of age and older wear a mask in indoor public settings, including while attending public and private K–12 schools; but has since rescinded

                Summary: On June 22, Michigan ended its mask mandate along with all COVID-related capacity limits on gatherings. The state had already lifted mask orders for fully vaccinated Michiganders in indoor public places and for all people outdoors. Face-covering will still be required to “protect vulnerable populations” in long-term care facilities, prisons and housing for farm workers.

                More Information:

                • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s June 17 announcement

                • August 23, 2021 In Resurrection School v. Elizabeth Hertel, 20-2256, 2021 WL 3721475 (6th Cir. Aug. 23, 2021). Catholic school in Lansing, Michigan and two school parents sued state officials over Michigan Department of HHS requirement that students wear masks in school; U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan held MDHHS orders did not violate Equal Protection Clause or Free Exercise Clause

                • Michigan school mask tracker: Find out which districts are requiring masks and which aren’t here.

                • September 2, 2021 Washtenaw County, in the Detroit area, has required masks in all schools. Oakland and Wayne counties previously mandated masks, reported.

                • September 19, 2021 Lakewood Public Schools reinstituted its mask mandate. 

                • September 21, 2021 Rogers City Area Schools mandated masks.

                • September 27, 2021 St. Charles Community Schools has instituted a mask mandate due to  an outbreak, reported

                • September 27, 2021 Carney-Nadeau Public School instituted a mask mandate as it reopened after a week-long closure.

                • October 11, 2021 Lakeshore Public Schools mandated masks.

                • October 18, 2021 Kalamazoo Public Schools plans to keep its mask mandates in place through its second trimester, which runs from Nov. 29 to March 11, reported.

                • October 18, 2021  Norway-Vulcan Area Schools mandated masks due to a spike in COVID cases, The Iron Mountain Daily News reported.

                • October 18, 2021 The Clintondale Community School District has mandated masks.

                • October 24, 2021 Bedford Public Schools mandated masks.

                • November 1, 2021 Coloma Community Schools has mandated masks until at least December 1.

                • November 9, 2021 Jackson Public Schools reinstated its mask mandate, until further notice, due to an increase in COVID infections.


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                Legislation: Minnesota judge rejected attempt to mandate masks in schools

                Summary: On May 14, Governor Tim Walz ended the state’s mask mandate, moving up his timetable in response to the CDC guidelines. Minneapolis and St. Paul lifted municipal indoor mask orders June 1 and 2. The governor announced plans to lift the order July 1 if at least 70 percent of Minnesota’s 16-and-older population was vaccinated. Masks are still required in schools and child care settings.

                More Information:


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                Summary: Decision left up to school districts to require masks, 16 of 149 school districts have optional masking, the remaining school districts require it. On September 30, 2020, Gov. Tate Reeves lifted Mississippi’s statewide mask requirement, two months after it was imposed. He subsequently issued a new order mandating masks in indoor public settings in counties with high COVID-19 case rates that expired March 3. Face-covering is still required at K-12 schools.

                More Information

                • Click here to read: Mississippi’s mask order repeal.

                • October 8, 2021 Chickasaw County School District in Mississippi now says masks are “very highly recommended” but not required.

                • October 13, 2021 Tupelo Public Schools made masks optional, when quarantined and positive case percentages in the school district had stayed below 2% for the previous two weeks.

                •  October 18, 2021 The Forrest County School District in Mississippi made masks optional.

                • October 4, 2021 Madison County Schools made masks optional, the Clarion-Ledger reported.

                • November 10, 2021 Pass Christian Public School District made masks optional, but warned that it could reinstate a mandate if cases increase again. 


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                Legislation: Missouri AG Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit to stop school districts from requiring masks. Judge denied request for a class action lawsuit– finding he would have to sue each district individually.

                Summary: On September 8, 2021 Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued guidance allowing school administrators and school board officials to determine mask mandates. On July 26, the city and county of St. Louis reimposed a local mask mandate covering all people age 5 and over, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor public places. The state Department of Health and Senior Services recommends that all people age 2 and older mask up in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. A similar order took effect in Kansas City Aug. 2.

                More Information:

                • Missouri’s health department’s COVID-19 prevention guidance.

                • August 6, 2021 Several schools in the St. Louis area, including St. Louis Public Schools, have mandated masks for the beginning of schools, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.

                • September 27, 2021 The Farmington School District is loosening its mask requirements. With COVID cases dropping sharply, its mandate ends, after students designated close contacts can remain in school if they wear close-fitting masks for the 14 days following exposure. The district still strongly recommends that students wear masks when social distancing is not possible.

                • October 1, 2021 The Jefferson City School District in Missouri ended its mask mandate.

                • October 15, 2021 Cape Girardeau Public Schools stopped requiring masks.


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban YES (sort of)

                Legislation: On August 31, 2021 Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced an emergency rule that directs schools to allow parents and students to opt out of any mask mandates. Governor Greg Gianforte announced DPHHS temporary emergency rule to allow parents and students to opt out of any mask mandates

                Summary: On February 12, 2021 Gov. Greg Gianforte rescinded the state’s mask mandate, then in May Gianforte signed legislation invalidating local mask mandates, effectively ending face-covering orders in Gallatin, Missoula and other counties. The previous order, issued by then-Gov. Steve Bullock in July, directed Montanans aged 5 and up to wear masks in indoor public spaces and at outdoor gatherings where social distancing could not be maintained. Parents have sued on behalf of students asking the courts to overturn some districts school mask mandates. The DPHHS emergency rule requires Montana schools to consider parents’ requests to opt out of mask mandates; many school districts have expressed that this does not affect their school mask mandates.

                More Information:


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                Summary: On August 26, an indoor mask mandate for the city of Lincoln and surrounding Lancaster County took effect. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends people wear face coverings in public when unable to maintain social distancing.  Currently mask mandate varies by district.

                More Information: 


                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                Summary: Individual districts are requiring masks. On July 30, the new mandate took effect amending the previous state order that ended most face-covering requirements for fully vaccinated people in accordance with a directive from Gov. Steve Sisolak aligning state policy with CDC mask guidance. Nevada now requires indoor masking for all people over age 9, regardless of vaccination status, in counties with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates covers 12 of Nevada’s 16 counties including Clark County and Carson City.

                More information:

                  New Hampshire  

                  Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                  Summary: On April 16, Gov. Chris Sununu allowed New Hampshire’s the state’s mask mandate to expire, about six months after it was implemented. The state’s COVID-19 guidance for businesses recommends mask use to stem transmission. Face-covering is required for all people on public transportation, per CDC orders. It is encouraged in all settings for people who are immunocompromised, and for those at high risk of infection when in crowds indoors. Parents are suing various school districts over mask mandate requirements; Judge dismisses request to stop NH school mask mandates.

                  More Information:

                    New Jersey 

                    Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

                    Legislation: August 6, 2021 Governor Philip D. Murphy, issued Executive Order No. 251 (2021) an Order Announcing Indoor Mask Requirements for the beginning of the 2021-2022 School Year

                    Summary:  On May 28, the state’s general face-covering order was lifted along with a host of COVID-19 restrictions. Masking is encouraged in public places for people who are not fully vaccinated and required for all those over age 2 in schools, child-care centers, summer camps, state offices, health care facilities, and public transit. Masks are also required for unvaccinated employees in workplaces that are not open to the public. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has placed schools in his state under a universal mask mandate.

                    More Information: 

                      New Mexico 

                      Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

                      Summary: As of August. 20,  Public Health Order; requires all New Mexicans aged 2 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings, regardless of their vaccination status, except when eating or drinking. The New Mexico Public Education Department. requires all students and staff to wear face coverings in all school buildings, regardless of vaccination status.

                      More Information: 

                        New York 

                        NEW UPDATED 1/26/2022

                        Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, (But may be overturned soon depending on outcome of pending appeal) School Mask Ban NO


                        State Litigation:

                        January 24, 2022 NY Supreme Court judge in Nassau County ruled that Governor Hochul’s  mask mandate was unconstitutional;

                        January 25, 2022 New York State filed an Appeal

                        January 25, 2022 A New York Appellate Judge granted a stay in the state’s lawsuit over the COVID-19 face mask mandate, meaning it remains in place while the case is appealed — and schools must enforce it. The hearing is set for Friday January 28, 2022 at state appellate court;

                        January 28, 2022 State Appeal Hearing Expected


                        Other Notable Litigation:

                        January 25, 2022 In reversal of earlier decision, Buffalo agrees to let maskless student with disabilities attend school


                        Summary: As of January 26, 2022,  New York has mandated universal masking in schools statewide. In New York City public schools universal masking is required,  and in addition, all staff are required to get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing.


                        This issue is especially complicated in New York, because on January 24, 2022 the  N.Y. Supreme Court struck down the state’s mask mandate for public areas and on the same day the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) issued a statement  telling schools to continue following Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mask mandate, even though even though Governor Hochul had been stripped of emergency pandemic powers because of former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s scandal. The Interim Guidance from the NYSED effective through February 1, 2022 requires “appropriate PPE” with at least two layers of material; to be worn at all times except when eating. It was not until June 7, 2021 that face masks were not required to be worn outdoors on school grounds. The guidelines also state that, “Responsible Parties” may choose to require face masks outdoors on school grounds.  


                        Previously, on June 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ended the state’s COVID-19 emergency, but New York continues to follow the CDC guidelines on face-covering, as it has since mid-May. Masks are required for unvaccinated people over age 2 when in a public place and for all people on public transit and in health care and long-term care facilities, detention centers and homeless shelters. Businesses and venues may require proof of vaccination to meet mask or social distancing directives.


                        More Information:

                          North Carolina 

                          Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                          Summary: On May 14, Gov. Roy Cooper ended the state’s general mask mandate. Face-covering is still required statewide in schools, child-care facilities, children’s camps, and settings designated by the CDC for continued masking, such as hospitals and transit hubs. Where masks are required, children under age 5 are exempt. The city of Raleigh and the counties that are home to Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro and Asheville have instituted indoor mask mandates covering vaccinated as well as unvaccinated people.

                          More Information:

                            North Dakota

                            Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                            Legislature: North Dakota Legislature passed House Bill 1323, which prohibits state officials from implementing masks.  However, the bill does not impact public schools‘ ability to require masks for students, staff, or visitors while on school property or at school events; masks are optional

                            Summary: On November 14, Gov. Doug Burgum instituted a statewide mask requirement amid a rapid rise in the state’s COVID-19 case count. After extending the mandate in December, Burgum allowed it to lapse when it expired Jan. 18, citing a decline in case numbers.

                            More Information:

                            • Click here to read: North Dakota’s Department of Health’s mask guidance.


                              Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                              Summary: Mask requirement varies by district; groups of parents have continued to file lawsuits in various school districts that require masking in schools. On June 2, the state’s mask mandate expired as the Ohio Department of Health lifted most other pandemic health orders. COVID-19 safety precautions remain in place in nursing homes and other group residential settings where there is heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus. State officials recommend that unvaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors.

                              More Information: 


                                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban YES

                                Legislation: On May 28, 2021 Governor Stitt signed  SB 658 which blocks all public schools in Oklahoma from requiring masks unless the governor issues a state of emergency for their area.

                                Summary: Gov. Kevin Stitt has called on Oklahomans to wear masks in public but rejected calls for a state mandate. Local mask mandates in the state’s largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, ended April 30 and May 1. State medical group and several Oklahoma parents allege state law is unconstitutional; Oklahoma County District Court judge imposed temporary injunction on law banning mask mandates in schools until another hearing can take place, but students and parents can opt out of the requirement

                                More Information:

                                • Click here to read: Oklahoma’s health department’s COVID-19 guidance.

                                • August 11, 2021 Santa Fe South Schools, a charter system in Oklahoma City, was the first district to defy Gov. Kevin Stitt’s ban on mask mandate, The Oklahoman reported

                                • August 13, 2021 Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel issued a mask mandate for his district, saying COVID cases in the system had gone from the single to the triple digits in just the first three days of school.

                                • August 19, 2021 Hulbert Public Schools mandated masks after closing temporarily.

                                • September 7, 2021 The Putnam City Schools school board approved a mask mandate, reported. Tulsa Public Schools goes against a state ban on mask mandates.

                                • September 22, 2021 Claremore Public Schools‘ mask mandate goes into effect.

                                • November 8, 2021 Jenks Public Schools ended a temporary mask mandate due to a steady decline in COVID cases among students and staff.


                                  Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

                                  Litigation: On June 12, 2021 the Governor’s office along with the  Oregon Department of Health issued Oregon Administrative Code 333-019-1015 – Interim Guidance For In-Person Instruction at Pre-K To Grade 12 Schools, which requires all students, staff, contractors, and visitors to wear masks indoors. Horizon Christian School, et al. v. Kate Brown, Case No. 3:20-cv-01345-MO  August 30, 2021. Plaintiffs requested TRO against Brown for enforcing mask requirement in religious and private schools similarly situated; Emergency motion denied, but Judge agrees to review issues de novo at hearing for preliminary injunction

                                  Summary: As of Aug. 27, Gov. Kate Brown expanded the state’s face-covering mandate two weeks after issuing an indoor mask citing record-high COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the delta surge. Oregonians aged 5 and over are required to mask up in most public spaces, indoors and out, whether or not they are vaccinated. The order also requires people to wear masks in public settings outdoors when unable to maintain physical distancing.

                                  More Information: 


                                  NEW UPDATED 1/26/2022

                                  Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO (see Litigation)

                                  Statewide Litigation: 

                                  • December 10th, 2021 The Court Ruled the Department of Health’s School Mask Mandate didn’t Comply with State Law and was therefore Void.

                                  • September 7, 2021 The Leader of the State Senate and a Group of Parents Filed a Lawsuit Seeking to Overturn the Mask Mandate.

                                  • September 1, 2021 State Mask  Mandate Reinstated

                                  • August 6, 2021 Mask Mandate Rescinded. Masks not required in Pennsylvania schools. 

                                  • June 28, 2021 Pennsylvania’s Mask Mandate was Rescinded, but the Secretary of Department of Health Requires Masking in  K-12 Schools.

                                  Other Litigation: 

                                  Allegheny School District (notable litigation)

                                  Upper St. Clair School District (notable litigation)

                                  • January 23, 2022 (Sunday) Mask Mandate Temporarily Reinstated. A federal appeals judge temporarily reinstated mask mandates for Upper St. Clair students and staff. Masks will continue to be mandatory until a three-judge appeals panel can review the lawsuit filed the week prior  challenging the school board’s decision to go to an optional mask policy that was supposed to go into effect January 24, 2022, as reported in the Patch and the Post Gazette

                                  • January 21, 2022 (Friday) Temporary Restraining Order Denied. In a 32-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Williams S. Stickman rejected the request to reinstate universal masking and said that the plaintiffs failed to show that their lawsuit would likely succeed.

                                  • January 19, 2022 Parents Filed A Complaint In Federal Court To Reinstate the Masking Policy to Mandate Masks

                                  • January 10, 2022 School Board Votes To Make Masks Optional. The Upper St Clair School Board voted 7-2 to reverse its previous mask mandate policy to making masks optional effective January 24, 2022.  

                                  Summary:  The state’s masking policy has changed frequently over the past year, but currently the masking policy is left up to the local school district, and schools continue to drop mandates


                                  On June 28, 2021 Pennsylvania’s Mask Mandate was rescinded, but the Secretary of Department of Health Ordered  masking in all Pennsylvania public and private schools, as well as child care facilities.  Governor Wolf said the state’s mask mandate in schools would expire on Jan, 17, 2022 and the decision on requiring face coverings in classrooms would revert to local school leaders. Then on August 6, 2021, before school commenced Governor Wolf rescinded the Mask Mandate – face coverings would not be required in Pennsylvania schools.  The 2021/22 school year started out without a state mask mandate in place, but on September 1, 2021 Governor Wolf reinstated the mask mandate

                                  On September 7, 2021  the leader of the state senate and a group of parents filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Mask Mandate, asserting that the acting Health Secretary Alison Beam failed to comply with state law when she ordered masks to be worn in all Pennsylvania public and private schools, as well as child care facilities.  On November 8, 2021 the Governor announced  that he expected to lift the state’s school mask mandate and turn decisions over to the districts to be effective January 17, 2022, but on December 10th, 2021 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court  ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, ruling that Department of Health’s school mask mandate didn’t comply with state law and was therefore void.


                                  More Information:

                                  Click here to read: Pennsylvania’s health department’s mask FAQs.

                                    Puerto Rico

                                    Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO 

                                    Summary: Puerto Rico reinstated its mask requirement on July 28, 2021.  Masks are required in public places indoors, regardless of vaccination status, by order of the territorial Department of Health. Children under age 2 are exempt.

                                    More Information:

                                      Rhode Island

                                      Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

                                      Litigation: On September 16, 16 parents filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Gov. Dan McKee’s mandate that masks be worn in all Rhode Island schools. On November 12, 2021 the plaintiffs motion was denied.

                                      Summary: As of November 18, 2021 The Rhode Island Department of Health recommends wearing a mask indoors near anyone you don’t live with. If you’re fully vaccinated, this is only when community spread is substantial or high. August 19, 2021 Governor Dan McKee  required universal masking in schools by Executive Order.

                                      More Information:

                                        South Carolina

                                        Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban YES (but blocked by the court)

                                        Legislation: July 2021 a Temporary law written into state’s budget, known as proviso to ban mask mandates (H. 4100, 124th Leg., 1st Reg. Sess. (S.C. 2021); City of Columbia instituted mask requirement for students and staff in all daycares, elementary, and middle schools

                                        Litigation: 1) A group of parents on behalf of their minor children (along with Disability Rights South Carolina) sued the governor, the AG, the state superintendent, and several school boards in Civil Action No.: 3:21-02728-MGL: A federal judge issued a TROfinding the state’s Proviso 1.108 violates the ADA and discriminates against children with disabilities

                                        2) South Carolina Supreme Court upheld K-12 ban on mask mandates in Columbia (narrowly applies to city of Columbia): Wilson v. City of Columbia: regarding Proviso 1.108 of the 2021 Appropriations Act which sets forth the intent of the legislature to prohibit mask mandates Act in K-12 public schools; City of Columbia passed ordinances mandating masks in all K-12 public schools in the City of Columbia; court upheld Proviso 1.108 and declared the City of Columbia’s challenge void

                                        3) Creswick v. Univ. of S.C., Op. No. 28053, ––– S.C. ––––, ––– S.E.2d ––––, 2021 WL 3629915 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed Aug. 17, 2021) (per curiam): Regarding Proviso 117.190 of the 2021-2022 Appropriations Act: related to public institutions of higher learning, and determined from the language in that proviso that the University of South Carolina was not precluded from issuing a universal mask mandate that applied equally to vaccinated and unvaccinated students and faculty alike

                                        4) Beaufort County school board votes against mask mandate

                                        Summary: On May 11, Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order prohibiting local governments and school districts from requiring masks, invalidating local rules in Charleston, Columbia and other jurisdictions. The new order encourages South Carolinians who have not been fully vaccinated to wear masks in public settings but says mandates “are no longer necessary or appropriate to address and mitigate the existing public health threats.”

                                        More Information: 

                                        • Click here to read: South Carolina’s order banning mask mandates.

                                        • September 30, 2021  Richland School District 2 reinstated a mask mandate.

                                        • October 7, 2021 The Hampton County School District mandated masks, “due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant.” The requirement will remain in place until at least Jan. 20, 2022.

                                        • October 12, 2021 The Charleston County School district has extended its mask mandate until Nov. 12 in continued efforts to limit the spread of COVID.

                                        • October 15, 2021 Florence One Schools no longer requires masks, reported.

                                        • October 31, 2021 Lexington School District Two‘s mask mandate expired, masks will still be required for school bus riders, in keeping with a federal health requirement. 

                                          South Dakota

                                          Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                                          Summary: The South Dakota Department of Health recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

                                          More Information:


                                            Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban YES  (but blocked by the court in several counties- narrowly applies)

                                            Legislation: On October 30, 2021, Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation (including Senate Bill 9014) further limiting COVID-19 protections including “eliminating the ability of six independent health departments in large counties to issue their own preventative health orders during a pandemic” and “Schools that institute a mask mandate must provide N95-equivalent masks for students and staff, and schools would be banned from using state money for any mask requirement”; legislation  signed by  Governor Bill Lee on November 12, 2021.

                                            Litigation: October 15, 2021 Federal judges in Memphis, Knox, Shelby, and Williamson counties have blocked Governor Lee’s mask opt-out provision. The rulings do not apply to other school systems in the state.

                                            1) Class Action: lead plaintiffs Brittany and Ryan Schwaigert: Schwaigert v. Governor Bill Lee– Federal judge temporarily blocked the opt out order- TRO lasted until September 17, or until trumped by another action of the court (preliminary hearing set for September 9); (Amicus brief in support of Plaintiffs: COPAA and other organizations); On September 27, a Tennessee judge struck down Governor Lee’s executive order allowing students to opt-out of mask mandates imposed at their schools.  On October 22, A U.S. District Judge extended a ruling blocking a mask opt-out provision in Williamson County

                                            Summary: Previously, Governor Bill Lee had signed an Executive Order No. 84 that allows parents to opt out of school mask mandate, even if the school, school system, local health department, or other government entity otherwise require that masks be worn (had run through November 5); order extended on November 5; In some districts, judges have paused or overruled the governor’s order.

                                            More Information:


                                              Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban YES (updated)

                                              Legislature:  On November 24, 2021 a federal appeals court reinstated Governor Abbott’s ban on school mask mandates while it weighs whether the edict violates the rights of students with disabilities. Previously, the legislature has not passed a law—but there is debate over HB 164 which includes an opt out provision for parents.

                                              Summary: Governor Greg Abbot has twice issued orders barring school district mandates of masks.  On March 2, Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state’s 8-month-old mask mandate. The governor’s new directive says Texans are “strongly encouraged” to wear masks in public but it bars local governments from enforcing their own face-covering mandates. Executive Order, GA-38, issued on July 29, 2021.

                                              The Texas Education Agency reinstated its pre-August 19 guidance banning school mask mandates as Texas lawsuits varied in their outcomes throughout the state; In some districts, judges have paused or overruled the governor’s order; The AG of Texas posts a list of districts not in compliance with its mask ban.

                                              More Information: 

                                              Districts that have mandated masks include Lockhart ISD, Waco ISD, Soccoro ISD, San Antonio ISD, Dallas ISD, Austin ISD, and Houston ISD.


                                                Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban YES 

                                                Legislation: May 5, 2021  SB195 limits durations of public health orders to 30 days and on August 30, 2021 AP Reported that Local health departments could issue 30-day school mask mandates with approval from the state or county government and the state legislature has power to overturn them. The Salt Lake City Health Department issued a mask mandate for students K-6 because they cannot be vaccinated, the city council voted on August 12, 2021 to overturn it.

                                                H.B. 1007 signed by the governor on May 28, 2021 prohibits a face covering requirement to participate in or attend instruction, activities, or in any other place on the school campus or facilities after the end of the 2020-2021 school year. While state or local health departments are not restricted “from acting under applicable law to contain the spread of an infectious disease,” the local county governing body has the authority to repeal it.

                                                Litigation: On August 23, 2021 a group of nine parents filed a lawsuit against Governor Spencer Cox and Attorney General Sean Reyes, challenging Utah’s law that bans mask mandates. The Salt Lake County Health Department previously tried to issue a mask requirement for schools countywide, but it was voted down by the County Council.  On August 20, 2021 Salt Lake City Mayor had put into place an emergency order for masks in city schools for students K-12

                                                Summary: On April 10, Utah’s 5-month-old order requiring masks in most public settings ended under state legislation that phases out various COVID-19 public health restrictions. Face-covering requirements in state government buildings and K-12 schools were lifted in May and June.

                                                More Information:


                                                  Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                                                  Summary: On June 15, Gov. Phil Scott lifted Vermont’s mask mandate and all other COVID-19 restrictions as the state crossed a threshold of 80 percent of eligible residents receiving at least one vaccine dose. Masks are required for all people, fully vaccinated or not, on public transportation, in health care, and long-term care facilities. As of August 2021 Masks requiredin person until student vaccination rate hits 80%; Vermont school officials urge Governor to mandate masks even as the vaccination rate increase. 

                                                  More Information: 

                                                  • Click here to read: Vermont’s Department of Health’s mask guide.

                                                  September 28, 2021 The statewide mask mandate has been extended through Nov. 1, reported.


                                                  NEW UPDATED 1/24/2022

                                                  Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, but in limbo School Mask Ban: NO


                                                  Legislation: Seven Virginia school boards sue Governor Youngkin as his order to lift the school mask mandate takes effect on 1/24/22. 


                                                  Summary: January 15, 2022 Governor Yougkin  signed an executive order to end the mask mandate in schools, stating:  “There is no greater priority than the health and welfare of Virginia’s children. Under Virginia law, parents, not the government, have the fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care of their children.” 


                                                  Previously,  on May 28, 2021 Governor Ralph Northam had issued a universal mask mandate for K-12 schools.


                                                  More Information:


                                                    Current Status: School Mask Mandate YES, School Mask Ban NO

                                                    Summary: On August 23, the state’s indoor mask requirement was extended to fully vaccinated people. Previously, Gov. Jay Inslee had lifted mask rules for vaccinated individuals in mid-May, but retained a mandate for unvaccinated residents. The face-covering order applies to people aged 5 and older in almost all indoor public spaces, with narrow exceptions for certain situations where people are working indoors alone or in areas not generally accessible to the public.

                                                    More Information:

                                                    • Click here to read: The state’s Department of Health’s updated mask order.

                                                    • July 28, 2021 Washington Gov. Jay Inslee requires all students and staff to wear masks in school buildings after the CDC revised tightened its recommendations due to the delta variant, vaccine hesitancy and the lack of a vaccine for younger students.

                                                      West Virginia

                                                      Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                                                      Summary: On June 20, Gov. Jim Justice signed an executive order revoking the state’s 11-month-old mask mandate. In its final weeks the directive had covered unvaccinated people aged 9 and older in indoor public spaces. Face-covering is still required in certain settings per CDC guidelines, including medical facilities and transportation hubs, and West Virginia businesses and school systems may require people to mask up.  September 8, 2021 The West Virginia Department of Education released guidelines, which allows local school boards to create mask mandates. However schools with a universal mask policy in place no longer require a school to quarantine students or staff.

                                                      More Information: 


                                                        Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                                                        Summary: As of November 22, 2021 Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommends universal masking K-12. On March 31, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate. In a 4-3 vote on a case brought by Republican state legislators, the court ruled that Evers, a Democrat, overstepped his authority by repeatedly extending pandemic-related emergency orders without lawmakers’ approval. The governor renewed the mask order several times since issuing it in August. Dane County, which includes Madison, requires people aged 2 and older to wear a mask in “any enclosed building” where people outside their own household are present.

                                                        More Information: 


                                                          Current Status: School Mask Mandate NO, School Mask Ban NO

                                                          Summary: On March 16, Gov. Mark Gordon rescinded the state’s 3-month-old mask mandate. The state health department continues to recommend mask use in public places “when common-sense physical distancing cannot be maintained.” 

                                                          More Information: