BOSTON (AP) — A masks mandate for Massachusetts public colleges is being prolonged via this yr, state officers mentioned Tuesday.
The mandate, which applies to all college students older than 5 and faculty employees, will now keep in impact via not less than Jan. 15, state training officers mentioned. It had been scheduled to run out Nov. 1.
Education Secretary James Peyser mentioned it provides time to get extra college students vaccinated, particularly youthful kids who’re anticipated to have a COVID-19 vaccine made obtainable to them in coming weeks.
“This will probably be one other huge step ahead in our efforts to maintain faculty protected for our youngsters,” Peyser mentioned in a press release.
Schools can apply for a waiver from the face masking guidelines if 80% of their college students and employees have been vaccinated. Few have hit that mark thus far, with Hopkinton High School final week turning into the primary to drop its masks requirement.
If a college reaches the 80% threshold, unvaccinated college students and workers are nonetheless required to put on masks.
The mandate doesn’t apply outside or when college students and employees are consuming or consuming. Students youthful than 5 are usually not required to put on masks, however the state recommends it. The unique mandate was introduced in August.
Education Commissioner Jeff Riley mentioned masks “stay a easy and efficient measure to forestall the unfold of COVID-19.”
About 1,800 college students and 350 faculty employees examined optimistic for COVID-19 from Oct. 14 although Oct. 20, in response to the latest information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. That’s out of about 920,000 college students studying in-person and 140,000 workers.
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