WORTHINGTON Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz released on Wednesday Executive Order 20-8, requiring face coverings in public indoor spaces and indoor businesses beginning July 25. This requirement includes all school buildings, including Independent School District 518 facilities, according to a District 518 press release issued Wednesday afternoon. Masks are required for all, with the exception of those who are 5 years of age or younger or anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering.

Also included in these exceptions are special scenarios for school staff. This includes the flexibility for district staff to wear face shields instead of face coverings so that facial expressions and lip movements may be more visible for the purpose of education.

The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Mary Cathryn Ricker, released a message of support for this mandate to school administrators. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has also included this new face covering mandate into their Fall Planning Guidance document that is available for schools to use when planning for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

District 518 will be implementing this mandate by requiring staff and students to utilize face coverings when in district facilities, the district's press release said. The requirement is one of the many tools that District 518 will be using to keep students, staff and the entire school district community safer.

This requirement is one of the many tools that ISD 518 will be using to keep students, staff and the entire District 518 community healthy, the press release noted. Other practices including a self-screening process for all students, staff and visitors entering ISD 518 facilities, limiting visitors to ISD 518 facilities, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, as well as other measures are being implemented across the district.

For more information on Gov. Walz’s executive orders, visit www.mn.gov. For more information on ISD 518’s plans and practices concerning COVID-19, visit www.isd518.net and navigate to the Distance Learning and COVID-19 page.