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ST. LOUIS – Thousands of additional students and staff on both sides of the river will start the new school year with a requirement to wear masks while inside campus buildings. At least three districts in St. Louis County including two of the largest ones have made the mask announcement.

Governor JB Pritzker laid out the same guidelines for districts all across Illinois. Everyone citing concerns about the surge in COVID cases with the Delta variant as a key reason for the indoor masking requirement.

Leaders in the Rockwood, Parkway and, Affton school districts all sent out notices to families Wednesday.

The guidelines are very similar in all of the districts. Masks will be required inside all school district buildings for students, staff, and visitors until further notice. Masks will also be required on all forms of public transportation including school buses. Masks will be optional though for students and staff while they are in outdoor settings including during recess.

The districts are encouraging all eligible students and staff to get vaccinated, saying if you are vaccinated you will not need to quarantine if you come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID.

Rockwood and Parkway officials are asking parents to voluntarily inform them if their child has been vaccinated. Staff members in those districts are also being asked to voluntarily provide the same information.

Pritzker announced that masks in Illinois will be required for all students, teachers, and staff in pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade schools across the state. Masks will also be required statewide in Illinois for daycares and private long-term care facilities.

Pritzker is also now requiring all state employees working in congregate facilities to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 4.