Tonight — Feb. 28, 2022, — the Board of Education of Charles County voted in a seven-to-one vote to eliminate the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) mask mandate. Effective immediately, CCPS will no longer require masks in any school system buildings. Mask use is now optional for students, staff and visitors to CCPS schools and buildings.
Following guidelines released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Board also voted in favor of eliminating the required use of masks on school buses effective immediately.
Students, staff and visitors may continue to wear masks in schools, CCPS buildings and on school buses. CCPS teachers and staff will no longer monitor or enforce mask use among students or on school buses. "I encourage parents to have conversations with their children about respecting the decisions of others," Superintendent Maria Navarro said. "I also encourage all community members to make whatever masking decisions best suit themselves and their families."
The CDC, as well as the state and local health departments, still recommends regular mask use for those who are medically compromised or unvaccinated for COVID-19. Navarro urged CCPS staff and parents to talk with their doctor about available vaccine options.
Since the start of the pandemic, CCPS has worked closely with the Maryland Department of Health and the Charles County Department of Health to monitor COVID-19 data and follow recommendations in place from the CDC. Recent COVID-19 data across the state and local levels has continued to trend downward in recent weeks. Additionally, CCPS COVID-19 data reports from staff and students have also decreased over the past two months. The data dashboard posted on the ccboe.com website shows this downward trend in CCPS schools and buildings. Charles County also falls in the low rating of the new CDC COVID-19 community guidelines.
In a letter to CCPS staff, students and parents, Navarro said now that CCPS is operating with masks as an option rather than a requirement, the focus on returning to standard operations for CCPS continues.
To view additional information about what staff, families and students can expect now that masks are optional in schools and on buses, click here. With the shift to masks as optional, some of the school system's standard operating procedures in place since March 2020 will end.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.
CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).