Massachusetts school mask mandate to be lifted at end of month
Massachusetts will lift its statewide mask mandate for schools at the end of this month, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced on Wednesday.
“With Massachusetts a national leader in vaccinating kids, combined with our robust testing programs, it is time to lift the mask mandate in schools and give students and staff a sense of normalcy after dealing with enormous challenges over the past two years,” Baker said in a statement at his COVID-19 briefing.
He added that the state has “all the tools to keep schools safe as we move into dealing with the next phase of managing COVID.”
“COVID, like many other respiratory diseases, will be with us for the foreseeable future,” Baker said, but added “thankfully the advances in vaccines, treatments and testing are mitigating the harm cause by COVID.”
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) commissioner, Jeffrey C. Riley, said “removing the mask requirement will make it easier for students to learn, particularly our young readers and students learning English as a second language,” according to The Boston Globe.
However, he added, “While masking is no longer a statewide requirement, we ask all school leaders and students to make sure they respect all individual choices around mask wearing.”
The decision to lift the requirement was made in consultation with infectious disease physicians, the Department of Public Health, and other medical experts, according to DESE, 7 Boston News reported.
New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and Oregon on Monday announced that mask mandates affecting schools and students will be phased out in the coming months.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) is expected to announce on Wednesday that the state will lift its indoor mask mandate for businesses.
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