Photo courtesy of MGN
By Hannah Rose Shemtov
On Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that local school districts could decide whether schools can abandon or abide by the mask mandate beginning in March. The next day, Mayor Michelle Wu disclosed Boston Public Schools will still require face coverings. Even though Wu intends to lift the proof of vaccination mandate, she has stricter policies regarding masks. “We need to see a consistent downward trend of these numbers so we are not just seeing dipping above and below, above and below,” said Wu.
After deciding to maintain the mask mandate, City Hall and the Boston Teachers Union constructed a deal requiring full vaccination of new hires. The five percent of the unvaccinated staff must show proof of two negative tests each week and abstain from school buildings during levels of high transmission. Wu believes schools need to be more strict because the tight classroom spaces prevent proper social distancing.
Boston City Councilor Erin Murphy disagrees with Wu’s restrictive policies saying, “Here we are in February in a much better place data wise in regards to coronavirus and numbers going down, so shouldn’t we be going in the opposite direction?” Boston City Councilors and residents will have a chance to discuss the Mayor’s decisions regarding COVID-19 during the Boston City Council hearing. Friday’s hearing involves city employee unions and next week’s centers on health issues.