While all but one county in Oklahoma meet the threshold of new coronavirus infections for school masking policies, 35% of districts have no mask requirement in place, according to a survey by the State Department of Education.
In approving the department’s COVID safety protocols last month, the State Board of Education cut requirements down to recommendations, including those for masks for students, teachers and staff. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the lack of mask requirements is still concerning.
"I would like to hear from someone in that group to understand why they haven’t taken any steps like the majority of the districts. I think that the board was serious when they made those recommendations, and I would like to understand why," Hofmeister said.
State Board of Education member Carlisha Williams Bradley asked Hofmeister on Thursday whether more can be done.
"Is there a time for us to revisit a mask mandate statewide?" Williams Bradley said.
"I think that there is, but that is something I would want to do with greater discussion between all the board members and respond to what we are seeing," Hofmeister said.
Mask requirements are not uniform for the nearly two-thirds of districts that have them.