ST. CLOUD -- Another central Minnesota school district is making facemasks optional in their buildings.

Starting Thursday, students in the St. Cloud Area School District will get to choose whether or not to wear a mask at school based on individual and family wishes.

At Wednesday night's meeting, Superintendent Willie Jett presented the board with a recommendation to make masks optional, and the board voted to approve it 5-1. Board Clerk Les Green left the meeting prior to the vote.

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Masks will continue to be required on all school buses and district transportation due to a federal mandate. Jett says the recommendation to change the district’s universal masking policy was made based on conversations with state and local health officials who agreed that the COVID-19 case counts are trending down in the four counties the district serves.

The district will continue to monitor case counts and positivity rates in the community and may revisit the policy if necessary. Jett says they are still encouraging people to wash their hands regularly and stay home when sick. The district is also providing KN95 masks and in-home COVID-19 test kits as requested.

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