EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) -As COVID-19 cases continue to climb across Oklahoma, a metro school district says it will soon require students to wear masks in class.
On Thursday, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 557,770 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March of 2020.
That’s an increase of 3,274 cases since Wednesday, Sept. 1.
On Thursday afternoon, officials with the Edmond Public School District announced that there would be a major change to the district’s COVID Learning Plan.
“I have never been one to back down from a hard decision when I knew it was the right decision. This is a hard decision. After meeting and talking with respected medical professionals and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, as well as watching how Covid has raced through different classrooms and grade levels, I have determined we need to move from ‘masks encouraged’ to ‘masks required,” a letter to parents read.
The mask requirement will go into effect on Sept. 8 for all staff and students in first through 12th grade.
Officials say it will apply to all indoor settings like schools, buses, and district offices.
Pre-K and kindergarten students will wear masks when traveling throughout the building and when sitting in groups, the letter says.
District officials say there will be time for mask breaks throughout the day.
The requirement will remain in effect until Oct. 13. At that point, the policy will be reviewed.
Authorities say if a parent or student doesn’t want to wear a mask for medical, religious, or strong personal reasons, they will need to fill out an exemption form.
Staff members can receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons, but they will not be allowed to opt out of the mask requirement for person reasons.