Wednesday, May 25, 2022

School Mask Mandates Are Coming Back

I dread this, as mentioned previously. If my college imposes a mask mandate again this fall I'll be teaching completely online once again. Arghh! 

At Time, "Mask Mandates Are Returning to Schools as COVID-19 Cases Surge":

On April 11, public schools in Providence, R.I, made face masks optional instead of mandatory for students and teachers—celebrating the move as a “positive milestone” brought about by declining COVID-19 cases among students and community support for a more lenient policy.

Just over a month later, Providence is one of several school districts requiring masks again in response to rising COVID-19 cases, part of a nationwide spike attributed to the highly contagious Omicron subvariants.

The Providence school district tracked about 60 COVID-19 cases per day last week among staff and students—a dramatic increase from a low of about 10 cases per day in March and early April, according to district data.

“The additional mitigation layer of masking will help us manage this new COVID surge and keep more students in the classroom where they learn best,” Javier Montañez, superintendent of Providence schools, said in a statement on Monday.

Philadelphia schools also resumed a mask mandate “to help protect everyone’s health and well-being as COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in the Philadelphia area,” superintendent William Hite said in a statement. And Brookline, Mass. reinstated an indoor mask mandate in all town-owned buildings, including public schools. The decision came after public health officials compared COVID-19 cases in Brookline public schools to cases in other Massachusetts school districts that had maintained mask requirements and concluded that “a temporary reinstatement would be an important mitigation measure to limit disease spread and reduce disruptions due to student and staff absenteeism.”

Boston public schools, for example, have maintained a mask requirement. City health officials said they would recommend lifting the school mask mandate once daily COVID-19 cases in the city fall to 10 new cases per 100,000 residents. The positivity rate currently stands at 54.5 new cases per 100,000 residents.

But overall, a small percentage of schools have reinstated mask requirements thus far...

Good. Let's hope it stays that way.