DESE Updates Masking Guidelines

On July 30, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) released a memorandum containing updated guidelines on masking, COVID-19 testing, and quarantine protocols – the guidance can be found here: DESE Guidance.

Guidelines on masking are as follows:

  • DESE strongly recommends that all students in kindergarten through grade 6 wear masks when indoors.
  • DESE strongly recommends that unvaccinated staff in all grades, unvaccinated students in grades 7 and above, and unvaccinated visitors wear masks indoors.
  • Masks are not necessary outdoors or while eating.
  • DESE recommends that schools allow vaccinated students to remain unmasked.
  • Individuals at heightened risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or with a household member who is at high risk, are encouraged to wear masks
  • By federal public health order, all students and staff are required to wear masks on school buses.
  • All staff and students must wear masks while in student health offices.

DESE further encourages Districts to maintain or establish a plan for COVID-19 testing in schools, including both diagnostics testing and pooled testing for students.

Additional guidance from DESE is forthcoming.

This update is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.