Feb 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Massachusetts to lift school mask mandate on Feb. 28

irst grade students at a Catholic elementary school on the first day of classes in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.
First grade students at a Catholic elementary school on the first day of classes in Boston, Massachusetts, on Sept. 7, 2021. Photo: Allison Dinner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Massachusetts will lift its school mask mandate at the end of the month, the state's department of elementary and secondary education said Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the latest state to move to drop masking requirements as year two of the pandemic wears on.

Driving the news: The statewide school mask mandate will be lifted Feb. 28, according to Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley.

  • "With Massachusetts a national leader in vaccinating kids, combined with our robust testing programs, it is time to lift the mask mandate in schools and give students and staff a sense of normalcy after dealing with enormous challenges over the past two years," Governor Charlie Baker (R) said in a statement.
  • Masks will also no longer be required for all licensed child care providers at the end of the month, according to the announcement.
  • School districts where 80% of staff and students are vaccinated will no longer need to request a waiver to remove masks in schools.

Between the lines: A "school district could establish a local requirement" for masks, according to the education department.

  • Masks will still be required on all school buses per federal order, officials said.

The bottom line: "During the past two years, the impact of COVID-19 on children has caused a strain on their mental health, emotional well-being and academic success," Riley said in a statement.

  • "We are relieved to now be in a place where we can provide young people additional relief from COVID-19 restrictions so they can continue to return to normalcy in the classroom."

Go deeper: Blue states move to drop mask mandates

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