Boston, MA — On Monday, Massachusetts marks the start of a two week countdown towards Gov. Baker’s target date to lift school mask mandates. Gubernatorial candidate and national pandemic response leader Danielle Allen is calling for key measures to keep students and staff safe through this transition and support safe, healthy in-person learning, including:
- A steady supply of rapid testing for schools across the Commonwealth so all schools have the support they need to monitor for any rise in cases and sound an alarm as needed.
- Age-appropriate KN95 masks for any educator, staff member, or student who wants one. As schools become mask-optional, we need to make sure everyone has the space to make personal choices around caution and safety — and providing high-quality masks is critical to making that possible.
- More support and partnership for community vaccination drives in communities with low vaccination rates. In communities where vaccination rates remain low — especially for people age 50 and up, who are more vulnerable to COVID — the state government needs to step up and provide more support to help communities clear that threshold for more community-wide protection and guard against any rise in transmission.
- Aggressive monitoring of key indicators, including hospitalizations and wastewater data, and any new variants. Mask mandates are an important tool in our public health toolkit. Going forward, we need to closely track COVID levels and any new developments, and be prepared to use important tools like mask mandates to mitigate any future surges and ensure schools can continue safe, healthy in-person learning.
“Over the last two years, this pandemic has shown us over and over again that we need to take smart, proactive steps to buffer against COVID — and think long-term about how to keep our communities safe and healthy,” said gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen. “As Governor Baker prepares to lift school mask mandates, I’m urging our state officials to look ahead and take action now to make this transition as smooth and safe as possible for our communities. We need to make sure high-quality masks are available for any student, teacher, or staff member who wants one, keep monitoring through widespread rapid testing and keep tracking indicators like wastewater, and step up with more support and partnership for community vaccination drives in communities with lower vaccination rates. This is about ensuring equitable pandemic resilience and making sure our schools can continue with safe, healthy in-person learning.”