LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Could one local high school potentially lift its mask mandate as they near the threshold required to unmask?
Longmeadow High School has a growing number of students are fully vaccinated and that could potentially lead to a vote to lift the school’s mask mandate as soon as Tuesday night.
“Personally, yes, I feel they should stay masked,” said Gayle Rediker of Hampden.
One western Massachusetts resident with grandchildren in the Longmeadow school system is not convinced the town’s public schools should lift their mask mandate just yet. However, some students at Longmeadow High School told Western Mass News that various protocols, including staying three feet away, are being followed closely and they’re ready to take their masks off.
Tuesday night, the school committee will meet and a mask policy discussion is on the agenda. We're told the high school may be close to meeting the state's threshold for requesting a waiver from the mask mandate, which is having at least 80 percent of students ages 16 and older vaccinated.
We checked in with the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and learned that so far, 12 schools in the Commonwealth have been granted the waiver - none of which are located in western Massachusetts.
Western Mass News reached out to Longmeadow’s Director of Public Health Finn McCool, who could only provide us town wide data, not specific to a particular school. It shows that 84 percent of 12-15 year olds are vaccinated and more than 95% of children in this age group have received at least one dose. For residents ages 16-19, 82 percent are fully vaccinated with 90% receiving one shot.
A statement released to parents by Longmeadow Public School Superintendent Marty O’Shea on October 28 read, in part:
“I want to be sure community members understand that the LPS masking requirement, while under review, has not yet changed. At its next meeting on Tuesday, November 9, the committee will review the district’s mask policy and would need to vote to revise its mask policy to allow vaccinated individuals the option of not wearing a mask.”
The meeting is set to begin tonight at 6:30 p.m.