PEABODY — Superintendent Josh Vadala and the Peabody Public Schools would like to share an update regarding the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) mask mandate for the 2021-22 school year.
On Tuesday, Aug. 24, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met and voted to give DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley the authority to institute a mask mandate for the beginning of the coming school year.
All K-12 students, educators and staff will be required to wear a mask while in schools through Oct. 1 to ensure schools fully reopen safely and to provide ample time for more students and educators to get vaccinated.
After Oct. 1, the policy will allow middle and high schools to lift the mask mandate for vaccinated students and staff only if the school meets a certain vaccination rate – at least 80 percent of students and staff in a school building are vaccinated. Unvaccinated students and staff would still be required to wear masks. As the district nears this date further information will be shared.
Community members should also note that under the DPH’s mask advisory, masks are mandatory for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, while using public transportation and rideshares, and while inside healthcare facilities and other settings. As a result, students riding any district bus or visiting any of the district’s health offices must continue to wear masks at all times while in these settings.
“The past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic have been difficult, but the students, parents and staff of the Peabody Public Schools have risen to the challenge,” Superintendent Vadala said. “As a public school district we must follow the guidance of the state, and look forward to future direction from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.”
The Peabody Health Department strongly urges those who have not sought to be vaccinated to do so, especially given the increased transmissibility of the Delta Variant.