School Committee Votes to Eliminate Outdoor Mask Policy

Photo by Joshua Ross

May 18, 2021 by Joshua Ross

May 18, 2021 by Josh Ross

In an emergency School Committee meeting on Tuesday morning, Dr. Austin requested that the School Committee amend it’s current policy of requiring students to wear masks outdoors for physical education class, sports, and other outdoor educational classes and activities.  This recommendation is in line with the new guidance issued by Governor Baker yesterday, May 17th.

While this is a big step in getting “back to normal,” there are still a number of mask related requirements that need to be worked out with the HEA to amend the MOA, such as reducing the six foot unmasked distancing requirement, large gathering restrictions, and ventilation requirements.  Dr. Austin stated that they have presented the HEA with a number of dates to potentially meet, but no meeting has been scheduled.

It was noted that the current MOA will expire when the State of Emergency is lifted on June 15th.  At that time, the pre-COVID contract language will be re-instated.  

It’s also important to note that while the governor and the EEA have both stated that youth sports no longer need wear masks, the governing high school sports body, the MIAA, will be meeting today to make their final decision on outdoor mask policies for high school athletes.  

A number of the 65 parents on the call raised some concerns including not acting quick enough, addressing the events of the high school seniors, and making sure the district addresses the potential bullying issues of those students who will still want or need to wear mask due to high risk issues.

The recommendation of removing the outdoor mask policy was passed unanimously.  Kids will be enjoying a maskless recess today for the first time since last March.  

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