BOSTON (WHDH) - Massachusetts Teachers Association President Merrie Najimy blasted the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s guidance on masks for students, calling it a “reckless decision” that could lead to schools being closed again.

Massachusetts school officials on Friday announced that mask-wearing will be “strongly recommended” for many students when all districts return to full-time, in-person learning in the fall but stopped short of mandating masks.

“Rather than adopt a plan in line with the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, DESE is essentially signaling that students, educators and families should not take seriously the reality of the alarming rise in the number of cases of COVID-19,” Najimy said in a statement. “This is a reckless decision.”

Students in kindergarten through grade 6, as well as unvaccinated staff in all grades, unvaccinated students in grades 7 and above, and unvaccinated visitors will be urged to wear masks indoors.

DESE and state health officials also recommended that schools allow vaccinated students to remain unmasked.

Najimy noted that she is now fearful for the health and safety of teachers and staff across the state.

“The MTA strongly advocates for safe in-person learning. To ensure this can happen, we must employ the most stringent health and safety practices possible,” Najimy added. “DESE is setting us up for another chaotic school year and increasing the likelihood that schools will again be forced to close. That needs to change and it needs to change right now.”

Najimy also said that state and local districts need to address the ongoing need to repair ventilation systems and monitor and maintain air quality in school buildings.

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