For Head Start, masks and vaccine mandates are still in place—for now

Editor’s note: This story led off this week’s Early Childhood newsletter, which is delivered free to subscribers’ inboxes every other Wednesday with trends and top stories about early learning. Subscribe today!

For much of the country, this school year started with Covid restrictions in the past: No more masking, vaccine mandates, social distancing requirements or testing regulations.

But for many Head Start programs, federal requirements remain in force, complicating operations. Under a federal rule announced almost a year ago, Head Start centers must require vaccines for staff and masks for anyone 2 years or older, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the program. The federally-funded preschool system collectively serves nearly 750,000 children from low-income families.

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