Shifting to Mask Optional

Shifting to Mask Optional & other Updates
Posted on 03/04/2022
Dear LS Students,

Good news, all pool test results from yesterday have returned negative! Due to improving conditions we are planning to end LS weekly pool testing at the end of this month. So the last day of collection will be four weeks from now on March 30. Thank you everyone for your participation!

I remind you that free home antigen test kits are available for you to picj up from your house offices!

The CDC recently updated its guidance related to public indoor spaces. At this time the CDC is no longer recommending mask mandates when the risk level for a community is at low or medium. The CDC has adjusted its criteria for determining risk levels to focus more on the hospitalizations versus overall positivity rates. Based on the new criteria, Middlesex County has a current risk level of LOW.

These are all very positive indicators that support our shifting to a mask optional policy in school starting on Monday, March 7. DESE recently clarified that there is no longer a mask requirement for school transportation. Therefore, we will shift to mask optional on school transportation as well.

There are two exceptions to being able to be mask optional. Mask wearing remains required in school health offices. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID may return to school after 5 days (as long as symptoms are improving and fever free) and are required to wear a mask for 5 days after. Students participating in performing arts or certain wellness classes may be asked to keep masks on during class time.

Otherwise, I know many of you are wondering generally what it will be like on March 7 – who will be wearing masks, who won’t be? I can’t stress enough that whether you wear a mask or not is completely up to you. We don’t know all the factors that can affect one’s choice about this. Many of you are wondering about peer pressure. Yet I know if I asked ANY of you what you thought about someone else’s choice you would each say you respect that it was for that person to choose. I think it is truly fair to say that everyone wants everyone to just be comfortable – whether it means to wear a mask or not.

By default the rest of the world is mask optional! No matter where we go we will see a mix of mask wearing. We will have friends and family with varying practices of mask wearing. I believe it is very possible a new social etiquette may develop over time that is influenced by accommodating the needs or preferences of others. We may find ourselves donning a mask around those who need to wear one or to help make that person more comfortable even if that person happens to be a stranger. All in all I think we will find a way to strike a happy balance that honors individual choice and comfort.

A reminder that students who are immunologically vulnerable to complications related to COVID infection may inform the LS Health Office to determine if we can offer further safety accommodations, which may include designating certain learning spaces for required mask wearing.


Ms. Wong