Cities, school districts remove mask mandates as COVID cases decline

Several school districts and cities are removing or changing their mask mandates related to COVID-19 as the number of cases circulating in the community continue to decline. 

Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis Park and Minnetonka are some of the cities still requiring masks in public places. Mask mandates in Hopkins ended on Sunday. 

On Monday the Wayzata School District voted to remove their mask mandate for K-12 students. The Osseo Area School District is changing to a school-by-school model by next week. Their model is similar to one adopted by the Anoka Hennepin School District last month. Starting next week, Eden Prairie schools will remove their mask mandate. 

Many districts credit this change to the decreasing number of COVID cases circulating in their communities and high vaccination rates among students. In a letter to parents the superintendent of the Wayzata School District says the decision to remove masking requirements starting Monday was, in part, "a result of K-12 vaccination rates that are currently over 76 percent district wide and declining COVID cases"

The topic of mask mandates is still a heated debate among parents and school board members. 

The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics are still recommending masks for kids in schools. Dr. Shannon Neale, a family medicine physician at Park Nicollet is also recommending kids still wear masks. 

"I don’t think that schools should be removing their mask mandates so I completely understand why people are upset about that," Dr. Neale said. "We know that [they’re] effective in communities and in schools."