MALDEN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – On Tuesday, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) extended the state’s school mask requirements until January 15, 2022.
Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley notified Massachusetts school districts that he will extend the requirement in all K-12 public schools. DESE said the extension came after consultations with medical experts and state health officials.
“Masks remain a simple and effective measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and keep students in school safely,” Riley said. “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.”
The mandate requires students above the age of five and all staff to wear masks in any indoor school setting except when eating, drinking or during mask breaks. This also applies to all school visitors and those with medical exemptions do not have to wear masks.
“In anticipation of the vaccine 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.”
School officials will be able to lift the mask requirement if at least 80% of their students and staff are vaccinated against Covid-19. This comes as Hopkinton High School recently became the first school in the state to have the option to life their mask mandate.
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