The State of Massachusetts confirmed Tuesday that all students will be required to wear face masks through mid-January regardless of vaccination status.
“Today, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced that after consulting with medical experts and state health officials, [DESE] Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley notified school districts in the Commonwealth that he will extend the mask requirement in all K-12 public schools through at least January 15, 2022,” states a press release from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
“The Department, in collaboration with medical experts and state health officials, will continue to evaluate and consider other criteria that could be used in the future to lift the mask requirement based on public health data,” adds the release.
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“Massachusetts is a national leader in vaccination rates for adults and eligible children, and in anticipation of the vaccine[s] becoming available in the coming weeks for children ages 5 to 11 years old, this extension of the mask requirement will allow time for the elementary school population to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. “This will be another big step forward in our efforts to keep school safe for our kids.”
“Masks remain a simple and effective measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep students in school safely,” said Commissioner Riley.“Together with the Test and Stay program, high vaccination rates, low transmission rates in schools and all the hard work in keeping our students safe, our kids are able to stay in school where they belong and can flourish.”