WORCESTER, Mass. - Students may not be the only thing returning to schools this fall. Masks could be joining them.

In a conference Tuesday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, "CDC recommends everyone in grades K to12 wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students, and visitors regardless of vaccination status."

Worcester Public Schools never eliminated their mask policy, and it’s still in place for the upcoming school year.

School Committee member Tracy O'Connell Novick says it's not a bad decision considering the current eligibility of the vaccine.​

"Because no one under the age of 12 is eligible to be vaccinated, which is more than half of our student body," Novick said. 

What You Need To Know

  • The CDC is recommending everyone in K through 12 schools wear a mask moving forward, regardless of someone's vaccination status
  • The CDC is also recommending mask wearing indoors in places with high transmission
  • Worcester Medical director Dr. Michael Hirsh says the delta variant is 60% more transmissible than COVID-19
  • Worcester's School Committee is meeting with the Board of Health on Aug. 9

The CDC describes the current rise in cases as 'worrisome.' Novick says the next month is crucial when it comes to how normal the classroom experience will be for the fall.

"One of the questions I'm going to have is what are our levels of vaccination both among staff and student,"Novick said. "I've seen some reports on that in other districts. I would be interested in knowing what ours are."

The guidance however goes beyond schools. The CDC now recommending both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors again in places where there is high transmission.

"This variant, the delta, is 60% more transmissible," said Worcester's Medical Director, Dr. Michael Hirsh. "And the level of virus that starts growing once it gets into your system is enormous."

The news comes almost two months to the day Massachusetts lifted it's own mask mandate. For Dr. Hirsh, the solution to this problem is simple.

"It's so clear that the solution is in our own hands," Dr. Hirsh said. "The vaccine will take care of all of our concerns."