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Statewide Mask Mandate For Schools Not Necessary, Baker Says

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated on Thursday that he does not believe a statewide mask mandate for schools is necessary at this time.

The Massachusetts Department of Secondary Education said recently it "strongly recommends" children in grades K-6 should wear masks in school because they are not able to receive a COVID vaccine.

Several Massachusetts towns have issued mask mandates for schools, regardless of vaccination status.

"Communities are doing exactly what we hoped and anticipated they'd do, which is making the decision that makes the most sense for them," Baker said at a Thursday press conference.

Baker said Massachusetts has the second highest vaccination rate in the country and is 15-20 percentage points better than the national average when it comes to vaccinating residents 12-19 years old.

The governor also said the state is anticipating an emergency use authorization that would allow younger children to be eligible for the COVID vaccine sometime this fall.

Massachusetts also offers a pool testing program that about 1,000 schools participated in during the spring.

"I think you put all those things together and we are perfectly positioned to make sure kids and adults will be safe when they go back to school, and we fully expect everybody to be in person," Baker said.

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