CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools announced Monday it will be moving to a mask-optional model next week.

According to a statement from CPS, starting Monday March 14, masks will be optional for students and staff.

“This means that while we will continue to encourage the use of masks, families and employees will now have a choice about whether or not to wear a mask at school, outside on school property, and on school buses,” the statement said.

CPS also posted the update on its Twitter account.

CPS officials said the sharp decline in Covid-19 cases in schools and the city plus the increase in Covid testing and vaccination rates, led to the decision.

“This is not about telling anyone they shouldn’t wear a mask. In fact, CPS will continue to encourage this practice in schools, especially in schools with lower vaccination rates and among those students and staff who feel most comfortable with a face covering. We will also support those members of our school communities who choose not to wear a mask, and will work with our schools to develop tools that teachers and parents can use to guide conversations with students about the importance of respecting everyone’s personal choice,” the statement said.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

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