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R.I. ‘strongly’ recommends students, teachers wear masks this fall

In a joint statement, state leaders said school districts should require masks in school for Fall 2021 “regardless of vaccination status,” which is in line with CDC guidance

In 2020, then-Providence superintendent Harrison Peters, left and Mayor Jorge Elorza, welcomed students to school wearing masks.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

PROVIDENCE — While Governor Dan McKee has not yet committed to requiring parts of Rhode Island to wear masks indoors, the state announced Wednesday that it will follow guidance from the federal government to recommend all students, teachers, and staff to wear masks in schools this fall.

In a joint statement, McKee, state health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, and Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, said “as Rhode Island has done previously,” it would continue to follow guidance from the CDC.

“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,” read the statement.


McKee previously said that he would recommend schools to ask students and school staff to wear face masks, but that there would not be a statewide mandate.

The statement went on to say that vaccinations will remain the “most powerful tool” as the state works toward a full return to in-person learning this fall.

“With the start of the school year several weeks away, now is the time for eligible staff and students to get vaccinated,” read the statement.

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.