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Lawmaker Proposes Universal Mask Mandate In All Massachusetts Schools

BOSTON (CBS) – A Massachusetts lawmaker is proposing a bill that would require a universal mask mandate in schools.

The measure, filed by State Sen. Becca Rausch, would require all students and staff in K-12 schools to wear a mask during the upcoming school year.

Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released guidelines for the fall. DESE "strongly recommends" all K-6 students wear masks in school, but did not issue a requirement.

"With less than a month before our children head back to school, this administration choses to play Russian roulette with the health of Massachusetts students and families," Rausch said. "I have heard from many parents, school committee members, teachers, and public health experts who are rightly worried, angry, and frustrated in the wake of DESE's weak, unenforceable, and non-binding mask recommendations."

Some parents told WBZ-TV they think a mandate would be going overboard.

"I think that a lot of places will instinctively look towards using masks if and when possible without necessarily needing a state mandate," Daniel Peaceman said.

"I think it's overkill," Raghu Muppavarapu added. "There's nothing wrong with it per se but having a mandate essentially forces people and the districts where everything is under control, people are vaccinated and things don't seem to be out of control in regards to the virus to wear masks."

The bill would also allow students to make a vaccine appointment during school hours without being marked absent.

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