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Superintendent’s Call – March 7, 2022

The following is the transcript from the phone message sent out by the Superintendent on Monday, March 7, 2022.

Good Evening,

This is Superintendent Binienda.

The Worcester Public School District is committed to providing a safe environment in schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining a safe environment is critical to the District’s ability to ensure students remain in  a full-time classroom learning environment.

The Board of Health has voted tonight to rescind the emergency mask requirement for all Worcester public, private, parochial, and charter schools in the City of Worcester, effective immediately. The Worcester School Committee also approved the following policy.

According to public health experts, one of the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus and to keep members of our school community safe is the use of face masks or face coverings.  Therefore, in accordance with guidance and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the following requirements are in place until further notice.

A face covering that covers the nose and mouth is strongly recommended to be worn by  individuals who remain unvaccinated or are otherwise immunocompromised in school buildings, on school buses and vans, and on school grounds, even when social distancing is observed.

Individuals who are vaccinated are not required to wear a mask, but may do so if desired. Bullying of students who decide to wear masks will be addressed through the WPS Bullying Policy.

Students and staff returning from 5 day quarantine following a positive COVID test must follow strict mask use, other than when eating, drinking, or outside, and conduct active monitoring for symptoms, through day 10 of exposure.

Masks will be required in all school health offices.

Previously by federal public health order, all students  and staff  were  required to wear  a  mask on school  buses.  However, effective February 25, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control is exercising its enforcement discretion to not require wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems including early care and education/child care programs.   

This policy will be effective concurrently with the effective date of a vote of the City of Worcester Board of Public Health to rescind the City-wide mask mandate in Worcester’s K-12 schools. This policy will remain in place until rescinded or amended by the School Committee.

Thanks for all you have done to protect our community from COVID-19.