Most Mass. school districts ditched masks Monday. But not Boston and these others.

Cambridge and Somerville schools are also keeping the face-covering rules in place.

Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Students and teachers across many Massachusetts school districts were allowed to attend class Monday without wearing masks, as state education officials officially lifted their mandate.

But some will still need face coverings for the time being, including in Boston and several other cities.

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley, earlier this month, announced the mandate would expire on Feb. 28.

While masks are no longer required under state regulations in most areas within K-12 schools, officials said students and staff should wear masks in “certain scenarios consistent with DESE’s COVID protocols.”

And mask rules can remain in place for districts that opt to keep them — an option taken up by several of the region’s largest school systems.


Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said earlier in February Boston Public Schools would continue to require masks be worn.

Cambridge Public Schools will also keep its mask protocols in place, according to a Feb. 24 update posted online.

Likewise, Somerville schools have indicated the policy remains unchanged, The Somerville Times reports.

Several other districts, however, have said mask rules would remain in place on Monday, but will soon be lifted.

In an update to students and teachers, Lowell Public Schools Superintendent Joel Boyd wrote masks will still be required until March 7 — a decision made to account for the fact Monday was the first day students were returning to class after February vacation.

“Though we will be lifting our current mask mandate, we are still taking necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of our students,” Boyd wrote.

Schools in Framingham will also lift the requirement on March 7.

Meanwhile, school officials in Natick and Newton are still reviewing when their respective districts may end the mandates.

“I firmly believe that due to our high rates of vaccination and participation in antigen testing, and the reduction in the surge that the time to lift the masks is upon us,” Natick Schools Superintendent Anna Nolin wrote in a Feb. 18 message to families. “To this end, I am having an additional meeting with the Natick Board of Health on March 4 at noon, so we can assess post-vacation data on infection rates, absences, and testing results, and then we will determine if we can move to the flex masking culture.”


In specific instances, masks will still be needed even for schools that no longer require they be worn daily, including when a student tests positive for COVID.

In that scenario, the student must stay home for five days before returning to school, at which point they will need to wear a mask for the following five days, Riley said earlier this month.


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