Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.
NEA provides guidance and resources for returning to classrooms safely, and with an emphasis on racial and social justice.
Learn More
Report

Masks and Respirators in Schools

This document summarizes updates to the CDC school-related guidance on face coverings and provides general information on masks and respirators.
student in facemask and hoodie
Published: 03/11/2022

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, public debate about wearing face coverings—including cloth or surgical masks and N95 respirators—has not subsided. Many states have eliminated requirements for universal masking in schools, and on February 25, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its longstanding guidance on school masking, changing its recommendation of universal masking in all schools to a metric-driven approach that pegs masking recommendations to community data on case numbers and hospital admissions and capacity. 

NEA had called on the CDC to provide updated guidance to inform transitions away from mask mandates. While the Association was encouraged by the new guidance, it renewed its call for local governments to bring educators to the table to help determine how to keep school communities safe. NEA continues to call on those making decisions about masking to factor in the  the needs of students with disabilities, students and educators who are immunocompromised, and communities of color that have disproportionately suffered severe illness and death from COVID-19.

This document summarizes updates to the CDC school-related guidance on face coverings and provides general information on masks and respirators. The final section of this document—Taking Action Based on the New CDC Guidance—includes suggestions for state and local NEA affiliates.

NEA provides guidance and resources for returning to classrooms safely, and with an emphasis on racial and social justice.

Join Our Movement

We ask only what is right: equal opportunity for every student, every educator, every family. At home, in school, online, in Washington–there’s a right place for all of us to make a difference.
safe school reopening

Safe and Just Schools in 2022 and Beyond

NEA is here to ensure we rebuild schools with an emphasis on equity, return to the school safely, protect the most vulnerable students, and help educators navigate their rights and responsibilities amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.