School mask mandate to expire Feb. 28

  • Gov. Charlie Baker speaks to reporters April 6, 2021, after receiving a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Hynes Convention Center, in Boston. MATT STONE/BOSTON HERALD VIA AP, POOL

State House News Service
Published: 2/9/2022 4:23:56 PM
Modified: 2/9/2022 4:22:13 PM

BOSTON — A statewide mandate requiring almost all K-12 students and staff to wear masks in schools will be lifted at the end of the month, the Baker administration announced Wednesday, marking a major transition nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will allow the existing requirement to lapse on Feb. 28 without another extension. In place of the statewide mandate, DESE will recommend that masks continue to feature in certain scenarios.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the Department of Early Education and Care will also update its guidance to reflect a similar change.

School districts can still choose to establish their own local requirements, and Baker said the administration will “fully support” individuals who choose to mask up once the mandate lifts.

The shift, Baker said, will bring a sense of “normalcy” back to classrooms after enormous disruptions in three different academic years.

“COVID, like many other respiratory illnesses we’re familiar with, will be with us for the foreseeable future,” Baker said, adding that the availability of vaccines, tests and treatments allows officials to manage the risks.


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