By CBSBoston.com Staff

MEDFORD (CBS) — Medford Public Schools will require students and staff to wear masks to start the upcoming school year.

Superintendent Dr. Marice Edouard-Vincent made the announcement on Thursday, saying all students, staff, and visitors at Medford Public Schools will need to wear masks while inside school buildings and buses. Masks will be allowed to be taken off during outdoor activities and lunch breaks.

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Edouard-Vincent says the decision to require masks was based on the recommendations of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“While the vaccine brought us a brief period of respite from the restrictions of the pandemic, the surge of the Delta Variant is a reminder that the pandemic is not yet over,” Edouard-Vincent wrote in a statement.

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She added that the district will also continue pooled testing and contact tracing protocols as needed.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated at a press conference on Thursday that he does not believe a statewide mask mandate for schools is necessary yet, but is understanding of schools and communities implementing them.

“Communities are doing exactly what we hoped and anticipated that they’d do, which is making the decision that makes the most sense for them,” Baker said on Thursday.

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The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says it “strongly recommends” that children in grades K-6 wear masks this fall because they are not yet eligible to receive the COVID vaccine.

CBSBoston.com Staff