BOSTON (SHNS) – As school committees and district officials across Massachusetts weigh mask policies for the coming academic year, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees has prepared a revised policy it is recommending that communities adopt.
Association officials said the policy “extends the face covering requirement from the school bus to the classroom, and all outside areas where social distancing cannot be observed.” Masking on school buses is already required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote MASC field director James Hardy, executive director Glenn Koocher and President Ellen Holmes in a newsletter to school committees and superintendents.
“The Center for Disease Control (CDC), Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) have all recommended that masks or face coverings be worn in school buildings for certain students and on school grounds where appropriate. While each agency strongly recommends the wearing of masks by various students in certain grades, each stopped short of requiring them. This has forced local school committees to make the determination about masking for other students and staff.”
In keeping with the state’s mask advisory, DESE and DPH have recommended masks for students in grades K-6, and for staff and students in higher grades who are unvaccinated. Some school committees, including those in Cambridge, Orange, and Salem have already voted to adopt mask requirements, while in other communities — like Lawrence, Lexington, and Holyoke — the decision has come from the mayor’s or superintendent’s offices.