September 3, 2021
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this finds you all healthy and safe. Below are updates about Federal unemployment benefits as well as state and national responses to the ongoing pandemic. We will continue to keep you apprised of available resources and trusted sources of information regarding the public health crisis. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.

Very truly yours, Joan Meschino
SPECIAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT UPDATE
Federal Unemployment Benefits End This Weekend
Federal UI benefits, including FPUC, PUA, PEUC and MEUC, end this week on September 4, 2021. No weeks after that will be paid even if you have a balance or remaining weeks to claim. If you have questions or concerns regarding unemployment benefits, please do not hesitate to contact our office by calling 617-722-2320.
MassHire Offers Jobseeker Resources
Over 200,000 jobs are currently available in Massachusetts. Visit MassHire Job Quest to search available job postings and mass.gov/jobseeker for additional jobseeker resources.

While working or looking for a job, you may be eligible for food or other assistance from the Department of Transitional Assistance. Learn more at mass.gov/DTA or call the DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363.
SPECIAL COVID-19 UPDATE
FDA Authorizes COVID-19 Vaccine
On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.
Education Commissioner Riley Announces Mask Requirement in K-12 MA Schools Through October 1st
On August 25, 2021, Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley announced a mask mandate for all public K-12 students older than age 5, educators, staff, and visitors through October 1 to ensure schools fully reopen safely and to provide time for more students and educators to get vaccinated. After October 1, the commissioner’s policy allows middle and high schools to lift the mask mandate for vaccinated students and staff only if the school meets a certain vaccination rate – at least 80 percent of students and staff in a school building are vaccinated. Unvaccinated students and staff would still be required to wear masks. The mask mandate also includes exceptions for students who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions or behavioral needs.
Board of Early Education and Care Approves Alignment of Masking Policies with K-12 MA Schools
On August 30, 2021, the Board of Early Education and Care approved a mask mandate for teachers, staff, and students at daycare centers and after-school programs beginning September 7. Children aged 5 and older must wear a face mask indoors, and children aged 2-4 who can safely and appropriately wear, remove, and handle face masks should be strongly encouraged, at family discretion, to wear face masks indoors and must be supervised at all times while wearing a face mask.

For a complete list of face mask requirements and exceptions, see the Department of Early Education and Care’s 2021-08 Policy Bulletin
Baker-Polito Administration Announces Expanded Vaccine Requirement for Long-Term Care Providers and Home Care Workers
On September 1, 2021, the Baker-Polito Administration announced plans to require COVID-19 vaccination for all staff at rest homes, assisted living residences (ALRs), and hospice programs, as well as for home care workers (HCWs) providing in-home, direct care services. The plan to expand the vaccine requirement for caregivers is subject to Public Health Council (PHC) approval and is part of the Administration’s continued effort to protect older adults against COVID-19. Last month, the Administration announced a vaccine requirement for employees of skilled nursing facilities. The plan to expand the vaccine requirement for caregivers is subject to PHC approval.

For more information on this requirement, find the Governor's press release here.
Mask Guidance Update for Athletics in K-12 Schools
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association will follow the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's guidance in requiring masks for any activity in which student-athletes and coaches are indoors. Masks will remain optional during outdoor activities. For the fall season, indoor sports include volleyball, cheerleading, swimming, and unified basketball. The MIAA plans to review safety standards prior to October 1.
Information on the Delta Variant
The delta variant is spreading rapidly across the globe, and it continues to fuel new outbreaks in the U.S., mainly among the unvaccinated.

For more information on the delta variant and other variants of COVID-19, visit the CDC's website here.
Important Links and Resources



  • Finding healthy foods tool




  • HandholdMA.org website for parents of school-aged children in Massachusetts concerned about their child's mental health.


  • Massachusetts residents can seek COVID-19 testing through the Stop the Spread Initiative which provides free testing in high-priority locations.

  • DESE's report on the number of positive COVID-19 cases in schools.



  • SafeLink 24/7 Crisis Hotline for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: 877-785-2020.


Stay Informed
Visit your town websites to learn the most recent information, local services, and guidance from our municipal officials.

State Resources

Federal Resources
Constituent Questions | 617-722-2320 | Office Contact Information
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