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Massachusetts public schools issue mask mandate as Covid-19 risk level rises

<i>WCVB</i><br/>Chelsea Public Schools has implemented a mask mandate for students and staff after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated Suffolk County as
WCVB
Chelsea Public Schools has implemented a mask mandate for students and staff after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated Suffolk County as "High Risk” for Covid-19 transmission.

By Matt Reed

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    CHELSEA, Massachusetts (WCVB) — Chelsea Public Schools has implemented a mask mandate for students and staff after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated Suffolk County as “High Risk” for COVID-19 transmission.

The designation includes a recommendation that all people should wear masks while indoors, the superintendent said.

“We’re still at risk, it’s still happening you know whatever we can do to protect ourselves and our kids,” said parent Jacqueline Melendez.

Masks must be worn in school buildings at all times except when eating or drinking.

“I think because of what we saw in Chelsea at the very beginning of the pandemic, we have really taken upon ourselves to be kind of at the forefront of taking any measures that that ended up being helpful to the to the school district and to our community at large,” said Chelsea School Committee member Roberto Jimenez-Rivera.

Mask wearing will continue to remain mandatory for any person visiting the school health offices and anyone returning to school from a five-day quarantine following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

Last April, the Chelsea School Committee voted to lift the mask requirement in schools provided CDC recommendations did not change based on the Suffolk County risk level.

“People are just getting sick left and right everywhere. I actually just got COVID for the first time a couple of weeks ago,” Jimenez-Rivera said.

With the risk level changing, CPS will follow its established protocols and reinstitute its mask mandate.

“We will continue to regularly monitor data and follow CDC recommendations in the event the risk level changes. The safety of our community is our highest priority,” Chelsea Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Almi G. Abeyta said in a note to the school community.

Chelsea appears to be the first school district in the area to reinstate the mask mandate.

Other Massachusetts school districts, including Arlington, Newton and Boston, have asked students and staff to wear masks during the the weeks following winter break.

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Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus Coverage

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