Hopkinton High School’s Mask Requirement Dropped — For Now

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/10/25/hopkinton-high-schools-mask-requirement-dropped-for-now/

Most students and faculty at Hopkinton High School won’t have to wear a mask at school next week, although that may soon change.

The Hopkinton School Committee decided on Thursday night that the school district would allow vaccinated students and staff to choose whether or not they want to wear a mask at school during a three-week stretch.

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has a mask mandate in effect for school districts unless 80 percent of their students and staff have been vaccinated against coronavirus. Hopkinton High School became the first school to meet that threshold earlier this month. In all, more than 95 percent of students ages 12 to 19 in the district are vaccinated against the virus.

The new mask policy won’t go into effect just yet. The trial period will go from November 1 to November 19. The committee voted 3-2 to approve the idea during its meeting Thursday, October 21.

School committee member Joe Markey thought the measure was too narrow but still supported it.

“I think families will do what they need to, but given where we are, we’re not going to be at a better time than now to at least do a three-week — I would be advocating for more but I sense the consensus of the board is different,” Markey said during the meeting. “I would be advocating to just lift it and leave it like that.”

Meanwhile, school committee chair Nancy Cavanaugh opposed the measure.

“We’re looking to take away one of the layers of mitigation that kept us safe, and I’m not sure what it is we are putting in place that is going to protect some of the people who cannot be protected,” she said during the meeting.

Committee members Markey, Lya Batlle-Rafferty, and Meg Tyler supported the proposal while Cavanaugh and vice chairman Amanda Vargiano voted against it.

The school plans to require masks once again starting on Monday, November 22. That’s the week of Thanksgiving.

It’s unclear if the school district will lift its mask mandate once again after Thanksgiving break.


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