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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As health officials continue to warn Oklahomans about the dangers of a new COVID-19 variant, a local school district says it will no longer be able to require masks on campus.

Effective July 1, Oklahoma City Public Schools will no longer require masks to be worn while on buses, in a school, or on any part of a district campus.

Officials say that although local public health officials still recommend wearing masks in school settings, Senate Bill 658 states that masks should not be mandatory.

“A board of education of a public school district or a technology center school district may only implement a mandate to wear a mask or any other medical device after consultation with the local county health department or city-county health department within the jurisdiction of where the board is located and when the jurisdiction of where the board is located is under a current state of emergency declared by the Governor,” the bill states.

District officials say that staff, students, families, and visitors are still welcome and encouraged to continue wearing a mask while visiting district properties. However, they will not be required to do so beginning on July 1.

OKCPS will continue to manage the spread of COVID-19 in schools with physical distancing, regular cleaning, handwashing, and other protocols.