Massachusetts Schools Could Face a New Mask Mandate
At least one Massachusetts community, Northampton, has reinstated a mask mandate for students attending public schools. MassLive.com reports the Cambridge, Arlington, and Belmont school districts "sent out a mask recommendation to students on Monday."
The Northampton requirement is for 10 days and could expire on May 20 if new cases of COVID-19 begin to decline.
Last week, the Springfield Board asked everyone, especially individuals at high risk, to wear a mask in public. There has been no order to mask up.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has recorded a steady increase in new COVID cases, but new cases and hospitalizations are far fewer than during the outbreak of last winter.
During a news briefing on Monday, Governor Charlie Baker dodged a direct question about whether he would consider reinstating a mask mandate for schools or anywhere else but said, "We continue to pay a lot of attention to hospitalization numbers." Baker said those numbers are "manageable."
So while Baker didn't say he would consider a temporary mask mandate, he didn't say that wouldn't, either, which is a clear indication that the option remains on the table.
While the Biden Administration says COVID could reach "significant" levels this fall and winter, New Bedford continues to offer COVID tests.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell lifted the mask mandate for employees in public buildings in February and the local schools implemented a mask-optional policy in March.