On Tuesday, the state education board gave the authority to state Education Commissioner Jeff Riley to impose a universal mask mandate in Massachusetts schools through at least October 1.
It's anticipated that Riley will officially issue the mandate sometime this week, a change from Governor Baker's earlier policy of leaving that decision to individual districts.
This comes as the two-dose Pfizer vaccine got full FDA approval for people age 16 and up on Monday, and as COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide are nearing a four-month high - 139-people of those patients are in intensive care — the highest number in more than three months. The positive test rate is slightly down, at 2.6%.
We take listener calls with Dr. Cassandra Pierre, acting hospital epidemiologist and an infectious diseases physician at Boston Medical Center, and Dr. Shira Doron, infectious disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center.
This segment aired on August 24, 2021.