Massachusetts to lift school mask mandate on Feb. 28
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