It's official! In somewhat breaking news, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced on Tuesday that DESE Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley will extend the mask requirement in all K-12 public schools in Massachusetts through at least January 15 after consulting with health officials.

In a media statement from the DESE, the following requirements will remain in effect:

  •  Public school students (age 5 and above) and staff in all grades are required to wear masks indoors in schools.  Masks are not required when outdoors.
  • All visitors are also expected to wear a mask in school buildings, regardless of vaccination status.
  • It is strongly recommended that students younger than age 5 also wear a mask in school.
  • Students and staff who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons and students who cannot wear a mask for behavioral reasons are exempted from the requirement.
  • The mask requirement applies when students and staff are indoors at school, except when eating or drinking or during mask breaks.
  • Masks are required for any sports-related activity for student-athletes and coaches when indoors, in alignment with guidance provided by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).
  • By federal public health order, all students and staff are required to wear a mask on school buses.

School officials will continue to be able to lift the mask requirement if they can demonstrate that at least 80 percent of all students and staff in a school building are vaccinated after submitting documentation to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The Department will continue to work with medical experts and state health officials to evaluate the mask requirement beyond January 15. For more info, visit the Department of Education's website here.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

CHECK IT OUT: Here's how to stop your glasses from fogging while wearing a face mask

In Pictures: What Education Looks Like Around the World During a Pandemic

LOOK: 15 Discontinued McDonald's Menu Items

More From WUPE