(NewsNation) — As a new school year gets underway, COVID restrictions that once occupied classrooms for the past two years are noticeably absent, as no state in the country is planning to require student vaccinations.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 75% of U.S. schools required them at the start of last school year.
Now, requirements of the like are rare: Only Washington, D.C. has a mandatory vaccine policy in place this year for adolescents 12 and up.
Masks, on the other hand, are optional almost everywhere.
Only four of the largest 500 school districts in the country will mandate masks when instruction begins.
Philadelphia schools will require them for the first ten days, but could drop the regulations after that. The other outliers are in Jefferson county, Kentucky; Prince George’s County in Maryland and Newark, New Jersey.
- JEFFERSON COUNTY, KY (97.9K)
- PHILADELPHIA CITY, PA (132.5K)
- PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, MD (132.7K)
- NEWARK PUBLIC SCHOOLS, NJ (40.4K)
The need to quarantine or isolate after exposure is also mostly gone — on par with the CDC’s latest recommendations.
Many school districts, including New York City, are scrapping their “test to stay” programs and dropping random testing.
Students who test positive in most places will still have to isolate and wear masks upon their return to the classroom. In New York, the new rule is five days away, and five days back with a mask.
All of these measures are designed to ensure more kids are in the classroom more often, which is overdue according to some administrators.
“Kids are actually slipping in their grade level, in their reading levels. They’re also slipping in their socio-emotional learning. And so it’s very important to have those kids in school, with their peers, with their teachers,” said Charles Patterson of Clark County Schools.
While it’s back to normal for most students, such is not the case for some teachers as some major school districts still require vaccinations, including New York.
In addition, those who were fired over the mandates or phony vaccine cards are still finding it difficult to find employment today.