By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The start of the school year in Massachusetts for K-12 students is just weeks away, and for a while it’s been expected that the fall would bring a return to normalcy in the classroom. But with COVID cases increasing thanks to the highly contagious Delta variant, parents may be wondering if there will be a face mask requirement for teachers and kids when it’s time to go back to school.

The Centers For Disease Control is recommending that everyone in K-12 schools wear face masks, regardless of vaccination status. In Massachusetts, however, state leaders are not currently calling for a blanket mask requirement in the classroom.

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Vaccinated students should not be required to wear masks in school, the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said on July 30. The state does “strongly” recommend that students in kindergarten through sixth grade wear masks in school, as well as any student who has not been vaccinated.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association has called the the state’s guidance “reckless,” and is looking for a universal mask mandate at schools in line with what the American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested.

Cities and towns may decide on their own to implement mask mandates at schools. Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey has announced that students and teachers in Boston Public Schools will be required to wear a mask when classes resume in the fall, regardless of vaccination status.

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A bill proposed in the state Legislature would require all students and staff in K-12 schools to wear a mask during the upcoming school year.

Masks are required on school buses at all times, per federal guidelines.

WBZ-TV’s Dr. Mallika Marshall advises parents to call their pediatricians now to make sure their kids are caught up on all vaccinations before school starts, including COVID-19 vaccines for children 12 and older.

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