HomeMassachusetts Board of Education to allow statewide school mask authorization

Massachusetts Board of Education to allow statewide school mask authorization

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted Tuesday to give the state’s education commissioner the authority to delegate masks to all students and public servants from kindergarten through 12th grade. . “To ensure that schools can fully reopen safely and provide time for more students and teachers to get vaccinated.” The Board voted 9-1 to allow the commissioner to place the mandate. Board member Paimon Rouhanivard, who voted no, said the proposal was “bad public policy”. Before the meeting, a group of protesters gathered outside the DESE building in Malden to express their opposition to the proposal. Many have argued that children do not need masks and that parents should be allowed to make decisions for their children. “I think it’s a shortsighted decision,” said one parent. “I think it doesn’t take into account the overall risks for children.” “As students and staff prepare to return to school full time, in person, our priority is to smoothly reopen the school. With cases rising, this mask mandate will provide another measure to support the health and safety of our students and staff this fall,” Riley said. For middle and high schools to lift the mask mandate for vaccinated students and staff only if the school meets a certain vaccination rate – at least 80% of students and staff are vaccinated on the school premises Non-vaccinated students and staff will still be required to wear masks The mask mandate will only apply indoors and on Children age 5 and up, and there will be exceptions for students who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions or behavioral needs.The Department of Primary and Secondary Education has issued guidance on concealment, COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols for the new school year, DESE also urges all schools, to: In particular, those with vaccination rates lower than the Massachusetts average, on hosting an on-site vaccination clinic during summer orientation events or when classes begin.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted Tuesday to give the state’s education commissioner the authority to enforce masks for all students and public servants from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley has pushed for a mandate to be put in place until October 1 “to ensure that schools can fully reopen safely and provide time for more students and teachers to get vaccinated.”

The Board voted 9-1 to allow the commissioner to bring up the mandate. Board member Paimon Rouhanivard, who voted “no,” said the proposal was “bad public policy.”

Before the meeting, a group of protesters gathered outside the DESE building in Malden to express their opposition to the proposal.

Many have argued that children do not need masks and that parents should be allowed to make decisions for their children.

“I think it’s a shortsighted decision,” said one parent. “I think it doesn’t take into account the general risks for children.”

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“As students and staff prepare to return to school full-time in person, our priority is a smooth reopening. With cases rising, this mask mandate will provide another measure to support the health and safety of our students and staff this fall,” Riley said.

After October 1, middle and high schools will not be allowed to lift the mask mandate from vaccinated students and staff unless the school meets a certain vaccination rate – at least 80% of students and staff on the school premises are vaccinated. Non-vaccinated students and staff will still be required to wear masks.

The mask authorization will only apply indoors and to children 5 years of age and older, and there will be exceptions for students who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions or behavioral needs.

Last month, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education issued Guidance on concealment, COVID-19 testing, and quarantine protocols for the new school year.

DESE also urged all schools, and in particular, those with vaccination rates below the Massachusetts average, to host an on-site vaccination clinic during summer orientation events or when classes begin.

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