What Do The New COVID Guidelines Mean for Schools?

Governor Baker urges residents of Massachusetts to get vaccinated against COVID, as that is now the best way to protect yourself from the virus.

After just over a year, an end to the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be in sight. 

At a press conference at 11:00am yesterday, Governor Baker announced that all COVID-19 restrictions and capacity limits will be lifted in Massachusetts on May 29th. Also on May 29th, the Massachusetts Face Covering Order will be lifted and replaced with the CDC's latest guidance for mask wearing.

He says that in addition to this, people that are unvaccinated will be urged to follow an order from the Department of Public Health asking them to continue to wear a face covering in most indoor settings. They will also issue a separate public health order asking both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to continue to wear face coverings in places such as health care facilities, nursing homes, public transportation, and in schools.

He notes that Massachusetts will be following the CDC in terms of their guidance on mask-wearing for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents. 

Also in the press conference, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced that effective today, May 18th, the youth and amateur sports guidance will be updated to no longer require face-coverings for youth athletes under 18 while playing outdoor sports, and that all restrictions on youth and amateur sports would be lifted on May 29th. 

She also announced that masks will no longer be required for K-12 and Early Education in outdoor settings such as recess. DESE and EEC will also be updating their guidance, now permitting students to share objects like toys and books in the classroom. This will go into effect on May 29th.

The CDC recently announced that, "All schools teaching students from kindergarten through grade 12 should continue to implement proper mask-wearing through the end of the 2020-2021 school year". They also say that restrictions in regards to physical distancing still will remain in place.

“Our school guidance to complete the school year will not change,” said CDC director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky on “Fox News Sunday,” adding that the agency would work over the summer to update its school guidance for the fall.

Superintendent of Wareham Schools Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood said in a statement to Wareham Viking News, "Thankfully with everyone in the school community working together we are at a turning point in our reopening process. We will continue to work with all members of our school community as restrictions are lifted as providing the safest environment possible is our priority."

Shaver-Hood continued on to say, "I appreciate the due diligence of our students and staff as we have navigated this unprecedented crisis in a very proactive manner."

Wareham High School principal Scott Palladino also added, "in reading into the statement from Governor Baker, it seems like we will have to wear masks for the remainder of the school year."

While beyond the end of the school year still seems like a mystery, it is safe to say that the students in Wareham Public Schools are in the best hands, and the WPS administration will continue to ensure the safety of all students and staff. 

 Article written byIndiana T.
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