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Massachusetts to lift public school mask mandate on Feb. 28

A sign reminding students to wear face masks and follow a set directional pattern are seen in the stairway of a Boston high school in February 2021. (Photo by Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A sign reminding students to wear face masks and follow a set directional pattern are seen in the stairway of a Boston high school in February 2021. (Photo by Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Students and staff at public schools in Massachusetts will no longer be required to wear face coverings while indoors starting Feb. 28, state officials said Wednesday.

The decision was made in consultation with infectious disease physicians, the state Department of Public Health, and other medical experts, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said in a statement.

“With Massachusetts a national leader in vaccinating kids, combined with our robust testing programs, it is time to lift the mask mandate in schools and give students and staff a sense of normalcy after dealing with enormous challenges over the past two years,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. “We have all the tools to keep schools safe as we move into dealing with the next phase of managing COVID.”

Students and faculty may still have to wear masks in certain scenarios, the state said, such as on school buses, which are subject to federal order.

The Department of Early Education and Care, which oversees day care and preschool facilities, will also lift the mask requirements currently in place for all licensed child care providers effective Feb. 28.

Nearly four dozen schools statewide have already lifted mask mandates after reaching an 80% vaccination threshold among staff and students.

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