"I understand both sides of the argument and this is where the difficulty comes in. For every bit of research that you can find and documentation that you can find for not wearing masks, you have compelling arguments on the other side and, you know, it's very powerful." –Gary Maestes, Hingham Public Schools
August 17, 2021 by Ally Donnelly
Gary Maestes is in a tough spot. He's been brought in to shepherd Hingham through this next school year: a school year we had hoped would be one of recovery and healing. With the rise of the Delta variant and more kids getting sick, this could be as stormy a year as 2020-21.
"Knowing that I'm the interim, I'm very cautious to try to not make statements that would put people into a position," Maesta says without finishing his thought. "If I was here for 10 years, I think I'd probably have a lot more influence over some of these decisions."
It's tough to say how much influence he will have with the school committee who, with the advice of doctors, nurses, counselors and others will make the biggest decisions affecting kids this year, but it's unlikely that it's none. School communities across the state are wrestling all sorts of thorny issues with little guidance from the state. Governor Baker has said he wants local leaders to make the call on everything from mandatory vaccinations for teachers and staff to masks or "masks optional" for students.
"I understand both sides of the argument and this is where the difficulty comes in," says Maestes.
On the latest issue of The Hingham 'Cast we sit down with Maestes to flesh out his perspective on what school will look like for our kids this year, from masks to lunch to sports and extracurriculars. What options will families have if they don't feel safe? What about teachers and staff? How will Hingham Public Schools work to make students whole socially, emotionally and academically?
We also sit down with two doctors on the masking issue, what we do and don't know about Covid in kids and what they are doing to try and keep their own kids healthy as cases rise. It's a great conversation. Join us.