photo courtesy of Pixabay
Superintendent Thomas Scarice announced his intention to make a recommendation to the Westport Board of Education to end the school mask mandate in a staff email sent out on Feb. 11. Under his recommendation, each family will make an individual choice about whether their child will wear a mask.
“We discussed the importance of supporting each and every one of our students as we approach the next phase of the pandemic,” Scarice wrote in the email. “We are committed to supporting the personal choice of each individual student and staff member, and to protecting everyone in our school community from unwelcome comments and behaviors.”
The statewide mask mandate for Connecticut’s schools is set to expire at midnight on Feb. 28, a decision recommended by Governor Lamont with the support of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and voted on by Connecticut’s House of Representatives and Senate. After Feb. 28, local school districts will be given authority to determine their masking policies. Each district’s decision will not apply to school buses, as public transportation is governed by federal requirements for universal masking.
According to the Department of Public Health, universal masking is no longer a necessary public health intervention, and at Westport Public Schools, daily infection rates have dropped to just over five new daily cases this week out of more than 6,000 total students.
Despite the relief brought about by the declining numbers of COVID cases, some students fear that the mask mandate would end too soon if Scarice’s recommendation is adopted.
“Completely eliminating the mask mandate might put some individuals at higher health risks,” Srushti Karve ’23 said. “I think that it would be best to remove the mask mandate a few days after break ends, since many people travel out of town during that period, possibly increasing Covid cases.”