WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- One of Governor Charlie Baker’s new executive orders requires masks to be worn in public places even when social distancing.
So how will this impact mask breaks at schools? Western Mass News is getting answers.
For schools that are doing in-person learning, students and staff are required to wear masks, but several masks breaks are given throughout the day.
Despite the governor’s new mask order, this will not change.
Starting Friday, Baker is requiring all people to wear face coverings in public spaces, even when proper social distancing can be maintained.
Western Mass News reached out to the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and commissioner Jeffery Riley told us in a statement:
“The executive order provides a few exceptions based on sector-specific COVID-19 safety rules, including rules issued by DESE. As a result, public school districts in Massachusetts should continue to follow DESE’s requirements on masks, as set forth in the initial fall reopening guidance.”
The original guidance includes that students in grade two and up are required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth.
Kindergarten and first graders should be encouraged to wear a mask.
Adults are required to wear masks or face coverings.
Exceptions to mask requirements must be made for those whom it is not possible due to medical conditions, disability impact, or health or safety factors.
Masks must be worn by everyone on buses during school bus transportation.
In addition, mask breaks should occur throughout the day when students can be six feet apart and ideally outside.
Westfield Public School Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski told Western Mass News mask breaks have been done safely in the district and will continue.
“We are continuing with masks breaks and with masks breaks our kids are about 10 feet apart,” Czaporowski noted.
Czaporowski said students and staff get about two to three masks breaks a day.
"A lot of the kids, even when they go out for masks breaks, they are just keeping their masks on…For some of our kids, they are uncomfortable and I think also for our adults to be able to take the mask off for a bit."
So, the mask breaks are here to stay and consistent with the executive order.
If a student is unable to wear a mask because of a medical or disabling condition, the school may require documentation to verify.