SEEKONK – Superintendent Rich Drolet would like to share an update regarding the Ministry of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) mask mandate for the current school year.
On Monday, September 27, after consulting with medical experts and state health officials, DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced that the state would extend the term of the school mask until at least November 1. The previous mask warrant, issued on August 25, had a mask warrant in place until October 1.
Under the state’s mask mandate, all K-12 students, educators and staff are required to wear a mask in schools until November 1 to continue to ensure health and safety students and staff, and to give more students and educators time to get immunized. Visitors to the school will also continue to be required to wear masks during this time.
With the updated mandate, if a school demonstrates an immunization rate of 80% or more of all students and staff by October 15, those vaccinated at that school would no longer be subject to the mask requirement. . According to statewide guidelines, unvaccinated students and staff would be required to continue to wear masks.
Whether or not a school or district meets the 80% immunization designation is a local decision that should be made by school and district leaders in consultation with local health officials.
According to DESE, masks can be removed indoors or other mitigation strategies can be put in place if necessary for students to participate in elective classes, such as the group. Additionally, masks are required for any athletic-related activity for student-athletes and indoor coaches, per guidelines provided by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).
Parents and guardians should note that regardless of DESE’s mask mandate, under the Ministry of Public Health mask notice, students taking any district bus or visiting one of the health offices of the district must continue to wear masks at all times within these settings.