Springfield schools issue mask advisory for indoor end-of-year events

Springfield schools issue mask advisory for indoor end-of-year events
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 11:56 AM EDT|Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 2:07 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - In a new move, the Springfield Public School district has issued a mask advisory for indoor events as the school year wraps up and as COVID-19 cases continue to trend upward in the city. The advisory asks students, staff, and the community to mask up when attending those events.

We spoke to parents who were in favor of this advisory. Some said their children never stopped wearing masks, but now, people are recommended to wear masks during indoor school-related events including awards ceremonies, proms, and graduations.

“My kids are going to continue wearing the masks regardless,” said Ennette Figueroa of Springfield.

Western Mass News reached out to school officials. Springfield Public School Superintendent Danial Warwick told us in a statement:

“With the end of the year quickly approaching, we know how excited loved ones are to celebrate their student’s accomplishments, but we want to remind and advise everyone to do so with safety in mind, especially as the numbers of COVID-19 cases are increasing in our Springfield community”

High school mom Patricia Ruiz said she is in favor of the advisory as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the city. She told us in Spanish, “I think this way there is more protection.”

This public school COVID-19 advisory comes just a few weeks after Springfield health officials announced a city-wide mask advisory at the beginning of the month, citing an upward trend in positive COVID-19 cases.

Western Mass News is breaking down cases numbers over the last month. Positive COVID-19 cases almost tripled in that time frame. Cases as of last week stood at 713 cases, an increase of 191 cases from the previous week, when there were 522 total cases. Going back further, at the end of April, cases stood at 350.

Now, Springfield school officials said the advisory is for all indoor events including awards ceremonies, proms, and graduations.

Figueroa reacted to the news Thursday and said her two children have continued to mask up, even after the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education lifted the mask mandate back in February and left the decision up to local school districts.

“My daughter was fighting me, my friends don’t wear it, you are wearing it…It’s always been my thing. Wearing masks from day one…that’s my safety for me and my family,” Figueroa added.