Two major medical associations are calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to establish a statewide mask mandate -- regardless of vaccination status -- for Massachusetts schools this fall.
The Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts Academy of Family Pediatricians released a statement Tuesday urging Baker to require masks while indoors for all students, staff and visitors, citing the highly contagious delta variant.
The Massachusetts Medical Society, a non-profit organization that consists of more than 25,000 physicians, medical students and residents, emphasized that masks are proven to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
"Decreasing transmission is critically important now as data have shown an increase in the number of children and adults who have contracted the easily transmissible delta variant of the virus," the statement reads.
"It is imperative that Massachusetts teachers, staff, students and visitors start this school year with uniform masking requirements to protect them and those with whom they live and interact outside of the academic setting."
The statement is signed by president of the Massachusetts Medical Society Carole Allen and president of the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians Julie Johnston.
The call from the doctors echoes one from the state's largest teachers union, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, which has pushing for universal masking in indoor public education settings, among other coronavirus related measures.
Baker's Administration is recommending that students and staff who are not vaccinated wear masks, but ultimately left the decision to local districts. There is an effort in the Massachusetts Legislature to require universal masks in school, however.
Some school districts have already decided to require masks in class when school starts again, including Boston, Worcester and most recently Woburn.