Connecticut School District Moves to Optional Masking After Relaxed, Statewide Restrictions

Waterbury Public Schools will shift to optional mask requirements on March 7, according to a letter distributed to students, parents, and staff.

The district, which had previously remained hesitant, will allow students to continue to wear a mask if they do not feel comfortable.

“We will continue to show mutual respect and demonstrate empathy, regardless of each community member’s decision to wear a mask or not. In addition, the district will continue mitigation strategies to ensure buildings are clean and sanitary. The shift in the mask mandate is not an indication that the pandemic is over by any means,” the letter explained.

However, the district encouraged all parents to continue certain strategies to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. For example, the leaders of the school system urged parents to test their children for the virus before the mask requirement is officially lifted.

“We will continue to assess and fine-tune procedures with an emphasis on the health and safety of both our students and staff. I greatly appreciate all of the feedback from families and staff concerning this issue. In addition to the daily COVID reports, we’ll continue to communicate both at the district level, as well as from the school level,” the letter continued.

In early February, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont eased restrictions by lifting the statewide mandate that forced schools to issue the requirement.

“Connecticut is seeing a dramatic decline in cases caused by the Omicron variant, and children over the age of 5 have had the ability to get vaccinated for more than three months now,” Governor Lamont said in a press release. “With this in mind, I think we are in a good position to phase out the requirement that masks be worn in all schools statewide and shift the determination on whether to require this to the local level.”

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Connecticut Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Waterbury Public Schools” by Waterbury Public Schools.

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