MALDEN, Mass. (WWLP) – The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has extended the mask requirement in schools.

Monday Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley notified school districts in the Commonwealth that he will again extend the mask requirement in all K-12 public schools through February 28, 2022. According to a statement shared with WWLP, the mask requirement based the extension on public health data. As with the previous mask requirements, schools will be able to lift the requirement if they can demonstrate that at least 80 percent of all students and staff in a school building are vaccinated. 

The mask requirement calls on schools to follow the following guidelines:

  • Public school students ages 5 and older in all grades and staff are required to wear masks indoors in schools, except when eating, drinking or during mask breaks.
  • All visitors are also expected to wear a mask in school buildings, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Masks are not required outdoors.
  • It is strongly recommended that students younger than 5 also wear a mask in school, which is consistent with the Department of Early Education and Care’s mask policy for child care providers.
  • Students and staff who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons and students who cannot wear a mask for behavioral reasons are exempt from the requirement.
  • Masks are required for any sports-related activity for student-athletes and coaches when indoors, in alignment with guidance provided by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).
  • Masks should be provided by the student/family, but disposable masks should be made available by the school for students who need them.
  • By federal public health order, all students and staff are required to wear a mask on school buses.

The Commissioner continued in his statement that he would revise the requirement as warranted by public health data.