BOSTON (WHDH) - Students and staff at several Massachusetts school districts are being asked to mask up when they return from winter break this week.

School in Boston, Newton, Arlington, and Watertown are all recommending that students wear masks when they return to classes. Administrators say this is part of an effort to protect students amid a surge in cases of COVID-19, RSV, and the flu.

The districts emphasized that this is a temporary ask and not a mandate. Anyone who does not comply will not be sent home or disciplined.

Still, the protocol has received mixed reactions from doctors parents.

“With all the RSV, influenza, so not only Covid, but just to prevent the spread after being out and free? I think its a great idea,” said parent Betty Medrano.

“We have so much immunity caused by Omicron that we don’t expect anything like what we saw last December due to any of the current subvariants,” said Dr. Shira Doron of Tufts Medical Center.

In Boston, the temporary masking protocol is set to go into effect Wednesday, Jan. 4 and run through Jan. 13. BPS is also requesting that all students and staff take a COVID-19 test before returning to school.

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