What the rise in COVID-19 cases could mean for the upcoming school year

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Students will be going back to school in about a month but COVID cases are rising again among school aged children.

We’re getting close to back to school time. But what will school look like for children this year? Governor Baker has said he will not mandate masks for students this upcoming fall but some lawmakers are calling for it.

“I’m not ready to make an ultimatum like that. I don’t think the data necessarily supports that at this stage” Senator Eric Lesser

Some school districts, like Boston, have already stated they will require it. Governor Baker says individual communities can decide whether or not they want to require masks in schools. “I think what we need to do is continue to rely on the advice of public health officials” Senator Eric Lesser

That’s what’s confusing right now. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that everyone older than age two wear masks whether you’re vaccinated or not once schools re-open. But the CDC says masks shouldn’t be required for fully vaccinated students and staff. They do say though, those two and older who are unvaccinated should wear masks.

“I think the parents should be a part of the decision making. When we make that decision we certainly want to hear from the staff and from the parents.” State Representative Orlando Ramos

Right now COVID vaccines are only available for children 12 and older. That means students in Kindergarten through sixth grade are unvaccinated. In the latest department of public health report, ages 10 to 14 are the third highest group of COVID cases in the last two weeks.

“It’s going to depends on local communities and what the spread is in those local communities.” Senator Eric Lesser

For children 12 and older who are looking to be vaccinated before the first day of class, the Pfizer vaccine requires 21 days between shots so now is the time to get the first one if students want to be fully vaccinated in time for the first day.

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