Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker says he has no plans to issue a mask mandate when the kiddos head back to school for the fall semester.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise nationwide and here in Massachusetts, Baker is under pressure from some legislators to reinstate a mask order for schools. The State House News Service reports Baker has no plans to update his administration's mask policies "either broadly or specifically for schools."

A dozen Democrat lawmakers wrote to the governor urging a mask requirement for students and staff through the sixth grade. The letter states, “With physical distance requirements for the upcoming academic year already lifted and vaccination wholly unavailable to children in EEC programs and grades K-6, masks constitute one of our most important remaining COVID mitigation measures.”

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SHNS reports Baker does not believe a mask order is necessary at this time.

“I think what’s got to be the rule of thumb here is that people make decisions based on the current state of play with respect to the virus in their states, and we’re in a very different place than most other parts of the country," he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was considering whether to issue guidance calling for masks to be worn by returning students under the age of 12.

Several parents have called my program that are ready to argue against any resumption of mask requirements locally. They feel that many kids have experienced enough trauma by being isolated for much of last year and say increased suicides, drug use and depression are proof of that.

I agree. Governor Baker should not issue a mask mandate for school kids but should monitor the situation closely to see what develops. An order can be issued later if needed. Right now, the best thing to do is try to return our kids to a more normal lifestyle and a resumption of their education without restrictions.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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