State Outlines School Mask Mandates for Fall

Gov. Charlie Baker demonstrating how to wear a mask during the state’s MaskUpMA campaign.

HYANNIS – With the fall school semester approaching, state officials are focusing on how to keep students safe despite surges in COVID-19 cases brought on by the more-contagious Delta variant.  

“It’s going to be up to us to do all we can to make sure that everybody who’s eligible to get vaccinated can get vaccinated so that everyone can have a school year that’s a lot different than the one they had last year,” said Governor Charlie Baker. 

“In many respects, we are also starting with one of the highest youth vaccination rates across the Commonwealth in the country, with about 65 percent of our 12 to 15 year olds being vaccinated and a fairly similar percentage for our 16 to 19 year olds, as well.” 

Baker said that mask mandates will be in effect for public schools until October 1, after which middle and high schools will be able to make their own decisions on whether to require face coverings so long as they have also reached a target goal of 80 percent of students and staff vaccinated in their school buildings. 

State Secretary of Education James Peyser said that the target goal will help keep students safe and in-person this semester, unlike the hybrid and remote-learning classes that defined 2020’s school year. 

Peyser said the state-wide enforcement of the mask policy until October 1 also keeps the mandates consistent, with little to no ambiguity from district to district. 

He also hopes the policy will encourage schools to get as much of their staff and students vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

“As we all know, vaccines are only available at this time for students that are ages 12 and up. We’re hopeful that federal officials, as they continue to review the clinical results, will move with urgency to make sure the vaccines—once they’re demonstrated to be safe and effective for younger kids—will be made available,” said Baker. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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