A sign at the main entrance of Asa Adams Elementary School in Orono in September advised that face coverings are required in the building. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

Two more Bangor-area school units have opted to drop their mask requirements, joining a growing number of schools that have made face coverings optional.

Students in the Old Town-based Regional School Unit 34 are no longer required to wear masks effective Wednesday. In Orono, RSU 26 students will have the option to ditch their masks on March 21. 

The decisions by school boards in Old Town and Orono follow state health and education officials’ decision to drop a statewide recommendation for mask mandates in schools and day cares. The changes to that statewide guidance took effect Wednesday.

While Orono’s mask-optional policy won’t take effect until later in the month, students at Asa Adams Elementary School no longer had to wear masks at recess starting Wednesday, RSU 26 Superintendent Meredith Higgins said. 

Masks are already coming off in some schools in the Bangor area. A new mask-optional policy took effect Wednesday in Bangor’s public schools.

The Hermon School Department earlier announced it will drop its mask requirement on March 14, and Brewer rescinded its mask mandate two weeks ago.

Lewiston, Maine’s second-largest city, has also made masks optional in its schools. And students in Portland schools will no longer have to wear masks starting March 14, according to the school department’s website

Maine has not had a statewide mask mandate in schools since Gov. Janet Mills allowed a state of emergency to expire last June. Since then, those decisions have rested with local school officials. 

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...