Massachusetts Public Schools are Ready!

It's a brand-new year with brand-new opportunities, and Massachusetts public schools are ready. From strategies to accelerate student learning to our continued commitment to diversity, we're doing more to make sure every student has the supports to go further — every step of the way.

Back to School

Will school be back to normal this year?

For fall 2021, all districts and schools will be required to be in-person, full-time, five days a week. Masks will be required indoors only for adults and students ages 5 and above until at least November 1. Other DESE health and safety requirements have been lifted. We will collaborate with the Department of Public Health to issue any additional health and safety recommendations as needed.

More Support

Schools and districts are receiving more support.

Massachusetts school districts will receive approximately $2.8 billion in state and federal pandemic relief money over the 2021–22 school year and fall 2024. The money is primarily in the form of federal coronavirus relief funds, and districts can spend it on a wide range of priorities in order to meet students' academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs resulting from the pandemic.


School meals are still free.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended school meal waivers, allowing universal free school meals to continue throughout the state through the end of the 2021-22 school year. Families in need of food assistance can also consider applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP outreach materials are available online in 11 languages.


Speak up if you have concerns about your child's wellbeing.

The pandemic has affected different students in different ways, and in some cases, students' mental health has suffered. If you have specific concerns about your child as they start school this fall, let their teacher and school counselor know. Your insight is valuable information that can help the school to serve your child better.

Learn material

Students will learn grade-appropriate material, with support.

We know that students have a wide variety of strengths and areas of growth. We're encouraging districts to accelerate learning as outlined in our Acceleration Roadmap, which sets three priorities for the year: fostering a sense of belonging for students in school, working to understand student strengths and needs, and providing access to grade-appropriate work.


Educators don't have to go it alone.

There are a variety of ways for educators to learn from each other or engage with other experts, including the INSPIRED Initiative, the evaluating and selecting curriculum networks, or the principal induction and mentoring network.

Looking for more information?

More information about special education during the 2021-22 school year can be downloaded in these FAQs.

Remote learning is not an option this fall, unless a district has created a virtual school within its district, if a child is enrolled in a Commonwealth Virtual School, or if a child requires a home/hospital tutoring program.

For updates on COVID-19 in Massachusetts see the COVID-19 Updates and Information website.

In some cases, the information you might be looking for can be found by contacting your local school district, because they know the details about your child's individual school. You can also visit our family webpage to access a range of topics for parents and guardians.

Text-only version

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.