Connecticut’s statewide school mask mandate expires February 15. Pressure is growing on Governor Lamont to end it immediately — and for legislators not to extend it, when they vote February 10.
If the state mandate expires, local school districts could implement their own policies.
Local “Mask Choice” groups sprang up earlier in towns like Fairfield, Wilton and Darien. In the past couple of days, “Mask Choice Westport signs” appeared in front yards and public spaces.
On social media, the handle is @MaskChoiceWestport. As of last night, an Instagram account with that name had posted 31 times — mostly links to news stories, opinion pieces and videos — and had 463 followers.
A reader told “06880”: “Parents are sending letters to Lamont, state representatives, the Board of Education, our superintendent, the Connecticut Teachers Association, and anyone else who would listen. This is the hot topic of all the parents I know right now.”
Statewide, 86% of 16- and 17-year-olds, and 79% of those 12 to 15 have received at least one COVID vaccine dose. The figure for 5- to 11-year-olds is 44%.
Cases have dropped sharply in Fairfield County since their mid-January Omicron peak.
Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice notes that the topic has caused “a great deal of division in both the public health and medical community, as well as in the school community.” The district “will continue to receive guidance from our local health district, medical advisor and the state Department of Public Health,” he says.
At the outset of the pandemic and the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, the district took a very conservative approach to our learning models and mitigating measures.
Since last January, we have learned a great deal and provided increased access to programs and services within the guidance we have been provided. Not only have we remained fully open, including extracurricular programs, we have consistently peeled back layers of mitigation when the opportunities have presented themselves. I anticipate that we will take the same approach with universal masking based on the guidance we receive.
“06880” attempted to speak with a spokesperson for “MaskChoiceWestport.” However, contact information was not immediately available.