Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is one of the latest governors across the country to lift mask mandates for children in schools, making the announcement Wednesday.
The state-sanctioned school mask mandate will not extend beyond February 28, the governor announced.
“Given the extremely low risk to young people, the widespread availability and the proven effectiveness of vaccines, and the distribution of accurate test protocols, and tests, it’s time to give our kids a sense of normalcy and lift the mask mandate on a statewide basis for schools,” Baker said.
The decision, he explained, was made after “careful consultation with public health officials,” adding that the state’s Department of Public Health “issued guidance for school districts for using masks in specific scenarios.”
State education commissioner Jeffrey Riley explained that masks will still be required on buses due to federal regulations and that “some individual schools districts may choose to extend the mask requirement beyond Feb. 28,” according to 7 News Boston.
“We believe removing the mask requirement will make it easier for students to learn, particularly our young readers and students learning English as a second language,” Riley said.
The announcement follows other states making similar moves to lift school mask mandates, including New Jersey and Connecticut, as the midterm elections begin to inch closer.