Massachusetts to lift statewide school mask mandate on Feb. 28

BOSTON, Mass. (WLNE)- Massachusetts will lift the statewide mask mandate for schools on Feb. 28, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The department consulted with disease physicians, the Department of Public Health, and other medical experts when making the decision to lift the mandate.

Massachusetts is the nationwide leader in vaccination overall, and in young people.

The Bay State also has “nation-leading” testing programs and just launched a brand-new at-home testing program.

“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,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

According to DESE, many schools across the Commonwealth have already reached the vaccination benchmark and requested permission to remove masks. They’ve received 68 requests from schools that 80% of their students & staff are vaccinated.

“Masking will be a community choice in schools across the Commonwealth, regardless of vaccination rates within a school; however, a school district could establish a local requirement,” officials said during the state’s COVID-19 briefing.

Several other states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, have rescinded their school mask requirements in recent days.

“During the past two years, the impact of COVID-19 on children has caused a strain on their mental health, emotional well-being and academic success,” says Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley.

Masking continues to be required on all school buses, per federal order.

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, News, Regional News