NHSA Statement on Final Rule for Masking and Vaccinations

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Administration released a Final Rule on the Head Start Interim Final Rule with Comments (IFC) issued in the fall of 2021. The Final Rule removes the mask mandate for all children, staff, volunteers, and contractors in Head Start programs and requires all Head Start programs to establish a COVID safety protocol moving forward. Disappointingly, it does not address the vaccination requirements.

“Head Start programs nationwide have been recognized for their successful work to keep children safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have every confidence that this Final Rule will allow programs to continue to do what they do best: serve children and families in a safe, healthy, and community-driven manner,” said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “We thank the Administration for providing, at long last, clear guidance on masking and we are hopeful they will quickly address the unresolved questions about the vaccination mandate as an immediate next step.”

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients in the United States. ••• Media Contact: Emily Wagner, Director of Communications, media@nhsa.org

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