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Star Tribune 

Masking in schools is the right call

The vaccine isn't yet authorized for young children, and adolescents' vaccination rates are lagging


Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

Downtown Rochester, including the Mayo Clinic complex, in 2017. The public school district in Rochester will require children ages 2 through 11 to wear masks when they're inside school facilities.

The school district serving the southern Minnesota city that Mayo Clinic calls home took a commendable step this week. When classes resume in Rochester, students ages 2 through 11 will be required to wear masks when they're inside school facilities.

Every Minnesota school should follow that lead and expand it to include students and staff at every grade level regardless of vaccination status. It's the responsible course of action as COVID-19's dangerously transmissible delta variant circulates and the vaccine has yet to be authorized for children under 12. Protecting children and stopping the virus are paramount.

But the relative ease with which Rochester's school board took a strong step toward a mask mandate is unlikely to be duplicated elsewhere around the state. Most schools don't have a world-class medical center in their city, with the built-in community support for public health that this brings. There's also widespread weariness with COVID mitigation measures, likely leading to pushback against masking requirements.


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