Universal Masking, Ventilation and Filtration, Distancing, Vaccination For Those Eligible and Testing Are All Critical For a Safe Return to School

August 27, 2021
As schools set to reopen for the 2021-2022 school year, on July 30, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education lifted all health and safety requirements for the Commonwealth’s schools, replacing them with recommendations that not only fail to protect students and teachers but go against guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Specifically, they recommend that districts allow vaccinated students to remain unmasked despite CDC guidelines and recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that recommends universal indoor masking in schools. While they plan to offer pool testing, currently they have no plans to track COVID-19 cases in schools in the upcoming year. 
MassCOSH is proud to stand with teachers in the fight to protect their members and students as schools plan to resume in-person learning as COVID-19 cases spike. Joining with the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers –MA, the Boston Teachers Union, the Massachusetts Public Health Association, and other public health experts, we are calling on Governor Charlie Baker to: 
  • Implement a mandatory, universal mask requirement for staff and students in pre-K through higher education.
  • Increase efforts to vaccinate students who are eligible.
  • Provide access to free and regular in-school COVID testing.
  • Provide funding to continue to repair ventilation systems in public schools and colleges. 
Click here to view a Facebook live video of a forum MassCOSH cohosted with the Massachusetts Teachers Association regarding a safe return to schools.