WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester Public School leaders say they’re waiting for more guidance from the state before making a decision about masks in schools this fall.

Right now, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says health and safety restrictions will be lifted at public schools next school year. 

What You Need To Know

  • Worcester Public School leaders are waiting for more guidance before making a decision about masks in schools
  • More DESE guidelines are expected to come out in August 
  • District is meeting with Board of Health in a few weeks 
  • Baker Adminstration doesn't plan to have mask mandate in schools 

It’s concerning to some parents like Cara Berg Powers. Her daughter is a student in Worcester and isn’t old enough to get vaccinated.

“It’s really important to me to feel safe sending her back to school, that masks be part of the protocols especially for elementary schools,” Berg Powers said. 

The district is waiting to hear the latest guidance from DESE, which is expected to come out in early August. Boston schools will be wearing masks in the fall. 

“We have a couple of weeks, and those couple of weeks are going to make the difference," school committee member Dianna Biancheria said. "One the requirements, and two what are we actually as a school committee what do we have the ability to determine."

The school district is also meeting with the Board of Health in a couple week of weeks. Officials haven’t ruled out the possibility of kids wearing masks.

“Based on the trends that are happening in the respective cities in regards to COVID-19 positivity rates, that’s another driving force to how going forward we are going to make decisions on COVID-19 procedures in our schools," Rob Pezzella, Worcester's School Safety Director, said. 

The rise in delta variant cases around the country also has some parents like Berg Powers concerned. 

“If the delta variant is as high as rate as it is, I think the safest thing is for everyone to be masked until we brought the rates back down and until we know we can get more kids vaccinated," Berg Powers said. 

Meanwhile, Worcester leaders say they’re continuing to vaccinate as many kids as they can and are focused on keeping kids safe.

The Diocese of Worcester Catholic schools is also waiting for more guidance from DESE before making a decision about masks in the fall.