A group of parents calling for the end of Massachusetts’ school mask mandate protested outside a meeting of state education officials in Malden Tuesday.
The parents, who were trying to take part in a public comment period for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, banged on the agency’s door as police stood inside.
Education official says the number of people allowed into meetings haw been limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The parents believe students should not have to wear masks in schools for the remainder of the year.
The protest comes as Massachusetts prepares to lift its mask mandate in many situations starting Saturday.
Despite the lifting of the mandate, masks will still be required in some situation, including in school and transportation hubs.
Education officials say the mandate for schools was made in line with the latest health guidance.
At the meeting, Education Commissioner Jeff Riley said nearly every public school in Massachusetts is offering full-time in-person learning for students as the second school year shaded by the coronavirus pandemic winds down.
More kids are getting used to being back in the classroom with COVID-19 restrictions, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday released its Academic Excellence Roadmap as it looks ahead to summer and fall. Meanwhile, parents and advocacy organizations on Tuesday pressed the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to ease masking requirements and to take a wider view of student wellness.
All elementary and middle schools in Massachusetts are now offering full-time in-person learning, Riley said, and 99 percent of high schools met his deadline of May 17 to also offer full-time, in-person education.
"I know that this was a split vote when the vote was taken in March to grant me the authority and we'll be voting on a final vote later, but I do think at this time that we made the right decision to move forward," Riley said Tuesday.
The board is expected later Tuesday morning to take a vote to finalize the student learning time amendments it adopted on an emergency basis in early March to advance more in-person learning across the state.