Administration

White House stands by school mask mandates despite some states lifting rule

Students wears masks while working inside a 4th grade class Washington Elementary School in Lynwood, Calif.
Associated Press/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The White House stood by the guidance on mask mandates in schools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) despite states, in particular those run by Democrats, aiming to remove face covering requirements in classrooms.

“We recommend masking in schools. That is the recommendation from the CDC. It is also true that at some point when the science and the data warrants, of course, our hope is that is no longer the recommendation,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday.

Both New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) have announced they will end mask mandates for students in March. Psaki did not answer when asked if the White House stands by the governors’ decisions to lift mandates. 

“Our advice to every school district is to abide by public health guidelines. It continues to be at this point that the CDC is advising that masks can delay, reduce transmission,” Psaki said. “It’s always been up to local school districts to determine how they implement.”

“It’s always been up to school districts. That’s always been our point of view and always been our policy from here,” she added.

She said that the White House has constant internal discussions when asked if there will be a road map for states to eventually transition out of mask mandates. She said the White House is constantly communicating with the CDC on its guidance.

Psaki said the White House believes there is a difference between the way Democratic governors in New Jersey and Delaware lifted mask mandates and the situation in Virginia, where Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants to give parents the choice of whether to have their kids wear masks in school.

“They weren’t actually that similar because what happened here in New Jersey and a couple of other states … is that they pulled back the requirement. They didn’t make it more difficult for schools, school administrators, local officials to keep requirements that they made a determination would keep their schools safe,” Psaki said.

Tags Glenn Youngkin Jen Psaki John Carney Phil Murphy
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