SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Massachusetts has extended the indoor mask mandate for schools into the next year.

The mask mandate for K-12 schools will remain until at least January 15, 2022, but if a school reaches 80% vaccination of students and staff they can apply with the state to waive the mask mandate.

Mandate guidelines include:

  • Students ages five and older as well as staff must wear masks while inside other than when eating.
  • If students are younger than five, it is not required, but strongly recommended
  • Students do get mask breaks throughout the day. And they don’t need to wear them when outside.
  • Visitors must also wear masks while entering school buildings, regardless of vaccination status.
  • The only ones exempt are students and staff who can’t wear a mask for medical or student behavioral reasons.
  • The Massachusetts Education Secretary says the extension will allow elementary school students to stay safe while giving them time to get the COVID-19 vaccine once available.

Mandatory masks will be a reality for students, teachers and staff into next year at public schools in the Commonwealth.