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Masking will be a key strategy in returning to school safely amid the continued presence of COVID-19 and its delta variant, said a pair of Duke University pediatrics professors who also stressed the importance of enforcing and adhering to mask policies.

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The Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that skilled nursing facilities and the two state-run soldiers' homes must ensure that all personnel, including those employed directly or by contract, are fully vaccinated against the highly infectious virus.

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The mask guidance update from DPH comes at the end of a week that saw the CDC reverse course and recommend that vaccinated people in areas of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission go back to wearing a mask indoors as the Delta variant surges across Massachusetts and other parts of the country.