Coronavirus

Boston students will wear masks this fall, Janey says

“As folks know there are a number of children who still are not eligible for the vaccine.”

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey, seen here in a March meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, announced masks will be required for students in the fall. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Acting mayor Kim Janey announced Boston Public School (BPS) students will be required to wear masks this fall.

“As folks know there are a number of children who still are not eligible for the vaccine,” Janey said. “Children are currently wearing masks as they are in summer school and in different programs throughout the city and this fall they will be wearing masks still.”

Janey made the announcement during a press conference introducing two new Boston School Committee members. During the question and answer session, a reporter asked her about mask requirements for schools. 

Janey added that masks are currently required in all municipality buildings. BPS students and staff were required to wear masks during this past school year.

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The Boston Teacher’s Union said they agree with Janey’s mask requirement.

“With the uncertainty surrounding the delta variant, low vaccine rates for students 12-17 and no options for children under 12, we agree with Mayor Janey’s choice to play it as safe as possible,” BTU President Jessica Tang wrote in an email. “Once vaccines are available and approved for young children, it will certainly make sense to reevaluate, but right now we agree with the Mayor that these steps are necessary to protect the health and safety of our students.”

Both Boston and Massachusetts have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, especially with the more contagious Delta variant. Janey’s announcement comes after the American Pediatric’s Association recommendation on Monday that everyone over the age of two wear masks in schools, regardless of vaccination status.

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Despite the recommendation, just before Janey’s announcement Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said he has no plans to change current school COVID-19 policies for the state. 

“We don’t have plans to change our current policies with respect to school in the fall,” Baker said earlier today. “We continue to talk to our colleagues in the healthcare community and in the education world.”

On May 29, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education lifted mask requirements for vaccinated students and has not changed this update. 

“With the exception of K-12 schools and a few other settings, those who are fully vaccinated… will no longer be required to wear masks or physically distance outdoors or indoors,” DESE wrote in May. “Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to continue to wear masks until they are fully vaccinated.”

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