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District 20 parents carry signs during a demonstration outside District 20’s administrative building in this file photo from September 2021. It was part of at least three demonstrations protesting the district’s new temporary masking edict, which was announced in late September.


Students in Colorado Springs’ largest school district will be able to attend classes without masks for the last week of the fall semester, according to a Monday announcement.

Academy School District 20’s mask mandate will expire effective Dec. 13, spokeswoman Allison Cortez said.

Students, staff and visitors who wish to continue wearing facial coverings “are encouraged to do so,” according to Cortez. Masks will still be required on school buses in accordance with the federal mandate. The masking orders at Douglass Valley Elementary and Air Academy High School will remain in effect, per Air Force Academy mandate, officials said.

The district cited expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and encouraging transmission numbers as two reasons for the expiration.

“The use of facial coverings/masks was never meant to be permanent,” the district said in a message to families. “Instead, it was a temporary measure to help keep our students and staff out of quarantines and in the classroom until changes in our environment occurred.”

The mask mandate has been the subject of impassioned discussion and debate since it was enacted in late September. Students at several District 20 high schools staged a walkout on the first day the edict went into effect, and more than 100 district parents mounted a protest outside D-20’s administrative building.

An allegation that staff members at Chinook Trail Middle School taped masks to students’ faces sparked outrage and generated headlines statewide. A subsequent investigation determined that four staff members advised some students to secure masks to their faces with tape, and that certain students interpreted the advice as an order.

District officials advised families to continue monitoring for symptoms and to keep their children at home when they’re feeling sick.

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