Westport schools update COVID guidance, masks at recess not required

An+overview+of+the+major+changes+expressed+in+Superintendent+Thomas+Scarice%E2%80%99s+update%2C+including+an+update+on+mask+policy.

Infographic by Prasaus Yeager ’22

An overview of the major changes expressed in Superintendent Thomas Scarice’s update, including an update on mask policy.

Finnegan Courtney ’23, Paper News Editor

As part of the announcement that Westport schools will not be offering district learning next year, Superintendent Thomas Scarice also announced that masks will no longer be required outside at recess or physical education classes for the remainder of the school year.

“As our transmission rates recede to levels not seen since last September, and our vaccination rates continue to climb, I have great confidence that we will safely end this year with a strong sense of normalcy,” Scarice wrote in a press release on May 24. “As I’ve mentioned, this positive ending will position our faculty and students for a very successful start to the 2021-2022 school year.”

This change in policy mostly affects elementary and middle schools as they still include recess in their schedules. While these changes were made due to the CDC’s new mask protocols for those who are fully vaccinated, masks are still required for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year. While some students agree with the new mask guidelines surrounding recess and outdoor physical education classes, others stress the importance of maintaining supplemental mitigating measures in addition.

I think that if people are socially distant and safe about it, it has the opportunity to be really great but it can also be unsafe if others aren’t socially [distant].”

— Alexa Gibson ’23

“I think that if people are socially distant and safe about it, it has the opportunity to be really great but it can also be unsafe if others aren’t socially [distant],” Alexa Gibson ’23 said.

Still, some feel that Westport should follow the lead of other states’ school districts and lift the mandate for those who are two weeks after their final vaccination.

“I believe that they should remove the mask mandate for vaccinated people and keep it for unvaccinated people,” Riley Twiss ’23 said. “If cases start to climb, I think the mask mandate should be a requirement [for all once again]. 

While Scarice has yet to announce any decisions on mask requirements next school year, at the end of his press release, Scarice offered gratitude to the Westport community and reflected upon this year and the future to come.

“As the end of year events begin to pick up, I ask that we all do our part to continue to thank our faculty, and all of our support staff across the system, for their extraordinary work this year,” Scarice wrote. “[As] we look back, we carefully navigated a generational pandemic to serve our students and while earnestly attending to their social, emotional, and academic needs. […] I, for one, will remember the people and the acts of kindness, commitment, and professionalism that carried us towards an increasingly brighter light at the end of this tunnel.”