MADISON (WKOW) -- The Madison Metropolitan School District will require everyone to wear a mask while inside when classes start in September. The district said this is the easiest way to keep people safe and healthy. One parent said he's glad the district is taking steps to make sure kids can be back in in-person learning this year.
"I'm happy that they're going to have them wear masks inside," Michael Thalasinos said. "I thought it made a lot of sense that we would, especially indoors, where I think I understand that COVID can be transmitted more easily, that we can all wear masks inside."
The district will not require masks outdoors or when someone is eating or drinking.
Thalasinos has two kids in the district. One is about to start seventh grade, and the other is going into first grade. Both are still too young to get vaccinated.
"We understand the Delta variant's a little bit more transmissible for kids and makes them a little bit more sick," Thalasinos said. "So, I think they're, they're playing it cautious and taking care of kids, but also making sure that they can get outside and play and enjoy each other. ... I thought the message was a really hopeful one that said we can keep our kids safe and get them into school and and get some education going on."
MMSD's mask plan lines up with what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended earlier this week, and district spokesperson Tim LeMonds said the universal mask policy worked well at slowing virus spread when students headed back into classrooms in the spring.
"Late semester last year, we had a lot of success, and we want to carry that momentum forward," he said.
The district didn't specify an end date for the policy or when district leaders would re-evaluate the mask mandate. However, LeMonds said that decision-making process is ongoing.
"We are continuously, on a weekly basis, speaking to our experts and following the local metrics and really keeping an eye on what's happening in other areas of the country with some of these newer variants," he said.
In a news release, the district said it will release details about COVID-19 precautions for athletics and co-curricular activities in coming days.