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Masks to become optional in Anchorage schools

February 19, 2022 GMT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Mask-wearing will be optional for students and staff in Alaska’s largest school district starting Feb. 28, the district superintendent said Friday, citing in part declining COVID-19 cases in the community.

Deena Bishop, in an online message said the transition will occur absent “unforeseen conditions.”

“It’s time to do this for our students,” she wrote, adding later: “I believe that continued mandatory mask wearing is counter-productive and negatively impacts our students’ education, intellectual development, and emotional well-being.”

Bishop said the district is prepared to offer COVID-19 tests through the end of the school year to staff and students who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

According to information provided by the state health department, hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in Alaska have come down from where they were late last month and earlier this month.