More school districts are implementing mask requirements to combat an increase in COVID-19 cases at the start of the New Year.
School districts in Massachusetts and Michigan are requiring masks, while an Illinois school district is asking students and educators to take a COVID-19 test before returning to class. The mandates come as schools fear the “tripledemic” of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza (flu) and coronavirus.
Ann Arbor Public Schools in Michigan, which is the state’s fourth largest school district with 17,000 students, implemented a two-week mask mandate after the holiday break, according to ABC 7. The school district said its flu and COVID-19 cases are at a “medium” level, leading to the mask mandate.
Chelsea Public Schools in Boston, is requiring masks indefinitely after the “[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has designated Suffolk County as ‘High Risk’ for COVID-19 transmission,” according to a letter from Superintendent Dr. Almi Abeyta.
“Masks must be worn in school buildings at all times except when eating or drinking,” Abeyta said. “Mask wearing will continue to remain mandatory for any person visiting our school health offices, and anyone returning to school from a five-day quarantine following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.”
Chicago Public Schools asked all students and staff to test for COVID-19 before returning to class and if positive to “isolate” at home for five days, according to a notice by the school. Prior to the break, the school provided COVID-19 rapid tests to students and staff.
Boston Public Schools implemented a “temporary masking” protocol, where rather than mandating masks, the school district “expects” students and educators to wear the face coverings, NBC 10 reported.
“This is our ask and expectation of students and staff, not a mandate—which will be in effect during the school day on school premises and school buses,” Superintendent Mary Skipper told the community, according to NBC 10. “[Boston Public Schools] will provide disposable face masks to students or staff who need them. No one will be disciplined or sent home if they refuse to wear a mask.”
Several school districts in states such as Pennsylvania, Washington and New Jersey implemented mask mandates ahead of the holiday break, citing a rise in “tripledemic” cases.
Boston Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, Chelsea Public Schools and Ann Arbor Public Schools did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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