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Wu: Boston is planning for the end of school mask mandates

Mask mandates will take center stage at a Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking on WBUR's Radio Boston Monday, Mayor Michelle Wu said the commission and Board of Health will discuss how and when to end mask mandates for Boston schools and businesses. Hospital capacity and test positivity rates will be important metrics in making those calls, she said.

Wu signaled that the end of policies requiring face masks indoors are in sight.

For city schools, health officials will take the recent school vacation week into consideration because many families traveled during the break.

"So, giving it a little bit of time past that — one quarantine period or so — to make sure the impacts of that travel and exposure and other places wouldn't see a significant bump in our numbers here," said Wu. "But we are basically there."

Schools will be held to different standards than businesses and general municipal buildings when going mask-optional, she said.

"Many [schools] are older buildings and lack updated ventilation systems to the type of air flow that would be ideal, especially in this current health situation" said Wu. "So we need to be mindful of the facilities, the physical environment as well as the gaps in vaccinations that still remain for our student populations."

The joint meeting comes just a day after the statewide school mask mandate expired. On Monday, dozens of Massachusetts districts launched their own mask-optional policies. Several others have plans in place to lift their mask mandates on March 7 or March 14.

Related:

Carrie Jung Twitter Senior Reporter, Edify
Carrie is a senior education reporter with Edify.

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