The superintendent of schools in Lynn, Massachusetts, plans to recommend a universal mask policy for the start of the school year.
Patrick Tutwiler, superintendent of Lynn Public Schools, announced that he will make a recommendation to the city's School Committee that the 2021-22 school year, which will be fully in-person for all students, begins with universal mask wearing for students and staff -- regardless of vaccination status.
"These recommendations focus on health and safety protocols and come in the form of suggestions, not mandates," Tutwiler said, pointing to advice from the city's health director and other local medical authorities. "School districts may make decisions based on local COVID-19 data and other circumstances."
Tutwiler said the recommendation is being made with several factors in mind, including vaccination rates among students aged 12-19, the inability to maintain physical distance with all students attending in person and the uncertainty around the impact of the Delta variant.
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"The Center for Disease Control guidance now calls for mask wearing in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, in substantial or high coronavirus transmission communities," Tutwiler said.
Essex County, where Lynn is located, is a substantial coronavirus transmission community, Tutwiler said.
The first day of school in Lynn is on Tuesday, Sept. 7. Tutwiler announced a virtual town hall on Monday, Aug. 16 to answer questions about the upcoming school year.