The Latest on the End of Statewide Mask and Vaccination Mandates in Connecticut Schools
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NOTE: We will be hosting a webinar on this topic on Thursday, February 23 from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Learn more and register here.

We have written repeatedly in these pages about the status of statewide masking and employee vaccination mandates for Connecticut schools (both public and private) schools. See two of our recent posts here: Decision Time: What Does the End of Statewide Mask and Vaccination Mandates Really Mean for CT Schools? and here: The Latest on Masks in Connecticut Schools: The Legislature Begins to Act.

Here is the very latest.

IS THIS REALLY THE END OF THE STATEWIDE SCHOOL MASK MANDATE? Yes, eventually but with some caveats. On February 15, 2022, the Connecticut General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, House Bill #5047, which technically grants the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the State Department of Education (SDE) the continuing authority to issue guidance or orders requiring the use of masks in Connecticut public and private schools through June 30, 2022. Conversely, the Bill also allows these state agencies to rescind mask requirements as of February 28, 2022.  It is the expressed intent of DPH and SDE (not to mention the Governor) to repeal the statewide school mask mandate as of February 28, 2022, but as of today’s date, we await the actual guidance (or orders) from DPH and SDE actually doing so.  Nevertheless, it is anticipated that as of February 28, 2022, whether to continue a mask mandate will be a local/regional board of education (or private school) decision, as opposed to a state mandate.  Please Note: Even when the statewide school mask mandate disappears, masks may still be required on school buses, due to current federal requirements.   

THE END OF THE STATEWIDE SCHOOL EMPLOYEE VACCINATION MANDATE? Yes. On February 15, 2022, a prior executive order that mandated COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing by public and private school employees expired and was not renewed by any further Executive Orders or legislation.  As such, Connecticut state law no longer requires school employees to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.

COULD A SCHOOL STILL REQUIRE THAT ITS EMPLOYEES BE VACCINATED OR SUBMIT TO WEEKLY COVID-19 TESTING? It depends upon what type of school you are. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the courts have repeatedly recognized the ability of any employer to impose a vaccination requirement, provided that the employer allows for certain religious and disability-based exceptions.  EEOC Issues Guidance on Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: Pullman & Comley (  However, in order for a public school district to continue to impose a COVID-19 vaccination mandate, it may be required to first negotiate such a requirement with its unions.  At this time, we are not aware of any public school districts in Connecticut that are seeking to maintain a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for their employees. Nevertheless, non-unionized charter and private schools (and public schools with respect to non-unionized employees) could still choose to impose a vaccine mandate unilaterally as long as they allowed for religious and disability-based exceptions.

Please contact one of Pullman & Comley’s School Law attorneys if you have any questions or concerns regarding vaccination and mask issues, related student and employment issues (including any bargaining demands by unions), or any other COVID-19 compliance issues.    

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About Our School Law Blog

Alerts, commentary, and insights from the attorneys of Pullman & Comley’s School Law practice on federal and Connecticut law as it pertains to educational institutions, whether those institutions be public school districts, private K-12 schools, or post-secondary colleges and universities.

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