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Updates to DESE Covid-19 Guidance 05.27.2021
Updates to DESE Covid-19 Guidance 05.27.2021
Paul Haughey
Friday, May 28, 2021

On May 17, 2021.  The Baker-Polito Administration announced that state-wide COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted, gathering limitations will be rescinded, and all industries will be permitted to open effective May 29, 2021.  The State of Emergency will end on June 15, 2021.

As of May 29, with the exception of K-12 schools and a few other settings, those who are fully vaccinated (two weeks after receiving the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) will no longer be required to wear masks or physically distance outdoors or indoors. Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to continue to wear masks until they are fully vaccinated.

This document is intended to provide guidance to districts and schools in interpreting these announcements in school settings across three time periods:

• Through the end of the 2020-21 school year: The core mitigation strategies that districts and schools have used all year will remain in place through the end of the school year, except for outdoor masking. Most other guidance also remains in place with a few exceptions. The graduation guidance has been updated to reduce restrictions in line with the Commonwealth’s updates. In addition, there are other instances where guidance issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) relies on state-wide guidance that will be rescinded on May 29. In these instances(outlined later in this document), we recommend but do not require that districts and schools continue to follow the practices they currently have in place to minimize changes to school operations so close to the end of the school year.

Summer school and other summer programs: DESE will not issue separate guidance for summer school programs. For summer programs, districts and schools are encouraged to follow the health and safety guidance from DESE currently in place for in-person learning this spring.

Fall 2021 school reopening: For the fall, all districts and schools will be required to be in-person, full-time, five days a week, and all DESE health and safety requirements will be lifted. This includes all physical distancing requirements. We will collaborate with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to issue any additional health and safety recommendations over the summer (e.g., masks for elementary school students). We will provide any updates to districts and schools as we receive them.  

To learn more about the guidance for the remainder of the 202-2021 school year; summer programs and fall 2021 school opening, click here.