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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools announced Thursday that the district will require masks for both students and staff next month for the start of the school year.

Citing feedback from public health experts and the recent guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, masks will be required for all, regardless of vaccination status, except for when eating and drinking.

Additionally, three feet of social distancing will be required “whenever possible.” Some students will be eating their meals in classrooms, while others will eat in the cafeteria.

Masks have been the subject of debate among several area school districts as the start of the school year looms.

Chicago Public Schools students return to school on August 30.

COVID-19 cases have been steadily rising in Illinois. 1,993 new cases were announced Thursday, the highest single-day total since May.

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