Statement from Senate President Karen E. Spilka on Masks in Schools
Next month, almost a million children will return to Massachusetts K-12 public schools. Of these kids, nearly half will be under 12 years old and therefore ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to the classroom.
Throughout the spring and summer, I joined parents and teachers in the hope that our children could return to school with a sense of normalcy. With the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant, however, the situation is clear: COVID-19 case counts are rising. The number of deaths is once again rising, including among those who have been vaccinated. This means that we are not quite ready to return to our pre-pandemic 'normal.'
Public health experts and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that universal masking in schools is an effective way to keep our vulnerable children and residents safe as we continue to fight this global pandemic. Parents, school staff and students seek clear, consistent direction as the school year starts, and they deserve to get it from the state. That's why I am calling on the Baker Administration to require masks in school this fall.
No one wants to go back to the dark early days of this public health crisis, and so we must do everything possible to keep people safe and our economy stable. Wearing a mask around vulnerable populations, including unvaccinated children and others, is a small and simple action we can take to do this.
Our children deserve to learn, grow and thrive in a safe and healthy environment, free from the disruption, anxiety and fear of a COVID-19 outbreak in their school. Massachusetts residents have shown such amazing compassion, caring and resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to keep going until our youngest and most vulnerable can be vaccinated.
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