SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Public Schools announced Thursday that they have decided to keep an indoor mask mandate in effect through March.

In a Facebook post, Springfield Public Schools explained why they are keeping the mask mandate, “Springfield vaccination rates are significantly lower than the state rate. In addition, the case rate for youth under the age of 20 continues to be a concern for the district and the City of Springfield.”

The school district says school and city health officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 data for the city at the end of March and reassess the mask mandate.

On Wednesday, Governor Baker and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Jeff Riley announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate for schools will come to an end on February 28. However, Governor Baker said local school districts have the option to continue their own mask mandates.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno sent 22News a statement Thursday saying COVID-19 cases are on the decline in the city. If this trends continues, Sarno said it is likely the citywide mask mandate will come to an end on February 28.