Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society on rolling back the state’s in-school masking mandate

Massachusetts Medical Society on rolling back the state’s in-school masking mandate

The physicians who comprise Massachusetts Medical Society have long supported all measures and efforts aimed at prioritizing full-time, in-person learning and recognize the impactful role education plays in the whole health of a child.

From the onset of the pandemic, state and local leaders from government, public health, medicine, and education have used data and science to inform decisions and guidelines around mitigating the spread of COVID-19. In-school transmission has remained minimal, thanks largely to testing protocols and high vaccination rates among school staff, visitors, and adults with whom students live.

Cautiously relaxing in-school masking mandates given recent encouraging public health metrics is appropriate at this time, but we must watch local metrics closely and be prepared to swiftly reinstate all proven preventive measures if the number of positive cases spike in a school or community.

We should respect and avoid stigmatizing staff, students, families, or caregivers who must or who choose to continue to wear a mask in school.

Any changes to public health measures reflect improving conditions, but we need to remain vigilant and continue to stress the importance of vaccines and boosters for all who are eligible to stem the tide of COVID infection, so that we are optimally equipped to handle any future surges that imperil individual and public health. Ultimately, developing immunity within the community through ongoing vaccination efforts is the surest path to containment of the virus.

-Carole E. Allen, MD, MBA, FAAP, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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