ATLANTA, Ga. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new analysis Friday that found the "odds of a COVID-19 outbreak in schools without a mask requirement were 3.5 times higher than those in schools with an early mask requirement."
The CDC analysis looked at schools in Maricopa and Pima Counties in Arizona. The two counties make up more than 75 percent of the state's population. Among the public schools analyzed, 21 percent had an early mask requirement (starting the first day of school), 31 percent had a late mask requirement (implemented after school began), while 48 percent had no mask requirement.
Schools without a mask requirement made up 59.2 percent of the school-associated outbreaks that happened from July 15 through August 31, the CDC found.
A separate report put out by the CDC Friday also found "the average change in pediatric COVID-19 case rates was lower among counties with school mask requirements compared with counties without mask requirements. Counties with a masking requirement had less than half of the cases per 100,000 than those without a mask mandate.
Florida doesn't have a mask mandate for schools after Governor Ron DeSantis blocked schools from implementing mask mandates. The legality of the order remains to be decided by the appellate
courts, but as of now, the ban remains in place.
Governor DeSantis and the state have issued financial penalties to school districts that enacted mask requirements in defiance of his ban. However, the federal government has stepped in to help districts that have been penalized for mask requirements.
Finally, the CDC also said an analysis of COVID-19 related school closures found 1,801 schools have been closed this year due to the disease. However, through masking and other preventive measures, roughly 96 percent of schools have been "able to remain open for full in-person learning."