Massachusetts Families Urged To Avoid Travel During School Break

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Commissioner of the state Department of Education this week urged Massachusetts families to avoid travel during the upcoming February school break in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Although many New England residents usually use the week to get away from the region's sub-zero temperatures and snow, this year things are slightly different due to the pandemic.

In his weekly update, Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said the February vacation may pose a "challenge" to districts in their efforts to limit students’ and staff’s exposure to COVID-19.

"The Department encourages district and school leaders to remind staff and students about the best practices that the Department of Public Health has outlined," Riley said. "These include limiting the size of any gathering, limiting get-togethers to only people who live together or to a small group of individuals with whom they are regularly in contact, and avoiding travel."

According to the state Department of Public Health, teens and children accounted for the largest number of the state's newly confirmed cases over the past two weeks with more than 8,200 cases confirmed, which is around 22 percent of all new cases reported in that period.

During the same time, people in their 20's accounted for around 18 percent of new cases, people in their 30's accounted for around 15 percent of new cases, and people in their 40's accounted for around 13 percent of new cases.

In comparison, people in their 70's accounted for around 5.3 percent of new cases, and people over 80 accounted for less than four percent of new cases. However, the state DPH said the average age of people who died of the virus during that period was 79.

Riley said anyone who is considering traveling during the February break should review and abide by Massachusetts travel orders, and people who want to travel to another state that is not a lower-risk state should be aware of the quarantine requirements involved with such travel.

"The Department appreciates all that educators, students, and families are doing to limit their risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19," Riley added.

WBZ NewsRadio's Jim MacKay reports:

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Written by Brit Smith

(Photo: Getty Images)

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