Debate over mask wearing at schools in fall isn’t taking summer break

BOSTON — The debate over whether kids should be required to wear masks in the classroom in the fall isn’t taking a summer break.

DESE has lifted physical distancing requirements for next school year but has yet to make a decision on face coverings.

“We will talk with the Department of Public Health over the summer about whether masks will be necessary in the fall, and if so, for whom,” explained a written statement sent to Boston 25 News from a DESE spokesperson.

Boston 25 News has been hearing a range of different opinions from parents across the Commonwealth.

Some are fed up with the mask requirements for kids at school and want an answer from DESE now about the fall.

“If you want your child to wear a mask then you have that option. I want the option to not have my child wear a mask,” said Matthew Landers, a Newbury resident and father of three.

On the other hand, others have said they are not opposed to masks in the classroom in the fall if that’s what is required.

“I’m a rule follower. If they say, wear masks, then we’ll wear masks,” said Kevin Burke, a Boston resident and father of two. “I don’t mind. We’re just trying to do our part as a family.”

The President of Massachusetts Teachers Association is cautioning against dropping the mask requirements in elementary schools where kids are not yet eligible for vaccination.

“…the pandemic is not over and that there are many variables to keep an eye on throughout the summer and into the fall. Therefore, it is premature to jump to decisions to drop all of the mitigation strategies that have proven to be effective,” said a statement from MTA President Merrie Najimy.

Najimy said she believes there should be no rapid move to ditch mask requirements for elementary school children until they’re eligible for the vaccine.

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