BOSTON (CBS) – Before the school buses roll, the issue of masking in the classroom is still being debated. “Use common sense and wear a mask. It’s the only way to prevent the virus from spreading,” said Gloria Petruzziello, with her 9-year-old granddaughter.
Long awaited mask guidance from the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education came out Friday, and it comes not with a mandate, but strong recommendations for students in grades K-6 when indoors, unvaccinated staff and unvaccinated students in grades 7 and above. But all vaccinated students can remain unmasked.READ MORE: State Treasury Releases Latest Unclaimed Property Listings, Including 49,000 New Properties
“Today’s guidance is not guidance at all, it’s reckless,” said Merrie Najimy, President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
The union was looking for a mask mandate regardless of vaccination status, in line with what the American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested. “There’s no clarity and no consistency, and what we know about the coronavirus is that it knows no boundaries,” said Najimy.
Masking decisions are still being left to local districts, and Governor Charlie Baker says that’s appropriate because cities and towns are in different places when it comes to the virus and vaccinations. Some still want to see where the cases are weeks from now.READ MORE: COVID Booster Shots: FDA Advisers To Vote Friday On Pfizer's 3rd Dose
“I have no idea what it’s going to look like on the ground in the next three to four weeks when school starts,” said Paul Georges, President of the Lowell Teachers Association.
It’s now left parents waiting for guidance from their districts and weighing what they’ll do.
“As long as kids under 12 are still unvaccinated they should still wear masks in school,” said parent Jonathan Small.MORE NEWS: UMass Amherst Brings Back Football Tailgate With COVID Restrictions
Parent Liz Wilder says her kids won’t be wearing masks in the fall and hopes “we can start with the guidelines being a little less strict and see what happens from there.”