Health professionals in Massachusetts are requesting that the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker implement universal masking in schools for the 2021-2022 school year.
In two letters sent to Baker, physicians and health experts urged the governor to mandate masks in schools for the upcoming year, citing a recommendation issued this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the proliferation of the highly-contagious delta variant.
"Schools and school-supported programs are fundamental to children’s development and well-being, and we must take all available measures to keep children at school in person," wrote Dr. Regina LaRocque, an infectious disease physician and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "The rapid, ongoing spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant in Massachusetts represents a serious risk as the 2021-2022 school year begins."
The coalitions are also asking Bakerto step up safety measures including ventilation, air filtration and physical distancing in order to protect children and to keep the schools open.
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"Our goal should be to keep children at school and learning," wrote Dr. Natalya Davis, a Quincy pediatrician, in a separate letter. "We cannot prevent every illness, but we can certainly mitigate the risks with a simple mask."
On Tuesday, the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high COVID transmission rates, and that children wear masks in school this fall.