Hopkinton Eligible To End Its High School Mask Mandate; But Will It?

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/10/12/hopkinton-eligible-to-end-its-high-school-mask-mandate-but-will-it/

Will any public high school in Massachusetts lift its mask mandate anytime soon? 

Hopkinton Public Schools can make that decision for the town’s high school. 

The district told the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on October 1 that more than 80 percent of teachers, students, and faculty at the school are vaccinated against coronavirus, according to Boston.com That means the district could end the mask mandate for vaccinated individuals at Hopkinton High, if school officials wish. 

That would not apply to any other schools in the district since they have not hit the necessary vaccination threshold. The statewide school mask mandate is in effect until at least November 1, although the state may extend it once again.

Just because the school district can do it, however, that doesn’t mean the school district will. 

Nancy Cavanaugh, who chairs the Hopkinton School Committee, told Boston.com on Tuesday night that the committee will have to vote on the mask mandate at a meeting.

The town’s director of public health, Shaun McAuliffe, said during a school committee meeting on October 7 last week that it’s “prudent to stay the course with face coverings” for the time being. He thinks it’s important for masks to remain until children under the age of 12 are eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in the state. He said that won’t happen until after Thanksgiving.

One member of the school committee voiced his opposition to prolonging this mask mandate, however:  Joe Markey.

“I feel very confident, given the state board of education policy on off ramping, that we’re among the communities best equipped to do this,” Markey said during the meeting.

No vote taken on the matter during that meeting.

The school committee plans to address the topic further during its next meeting on Thursday, October 21, according to the Hopkinton School District.

If the district were to make the change, the unvaccinated would still have to wear masks and the vaccinated would have the option of whether or not they want to wear one.


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