Top state leaders in Rhode Island on Wednesday recommended that all students, staff and faculty wear face coverings when schools fully reopen this fall.
The decision announced by Gov. Dan McKee, Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, and Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's update this week to recommend universal mask use within school settings, they said in a joint statement.
It comes as the highly contagious delta variant fuels a resurgence of the disease across the country.
"We strongly recommend that school districts set a policy that requires masking in schools this fall regardless of vaccination status in direct correlation with CDC guidance. Over the course of the summer, we will continue to monitor the CDC's guidance and update Rhode Island's guidance as necessary," the statement said.
During a news conference last month to announce school reopening plans, McKee had said that indoor mask wearing would not be required for the fully vaccinated.
They urged people to get vaccinated.
Although almost 656,000 people have been fully vaccinated in the state, three key metrics used to measure the spread of the coronavirus in the state — percent positive test results, new hospital admissions, and news cases per 100,000 population — have all risen in the past week according to the health department.