|Dear NPS Families,|
Last night, the School Committee met to discuss the most recent recommendation from our Medical Advisory Group. The recommendation called for optional indoor masking based upon the sharp decline in COVID cases in our community and the high vaccination rates among students and staff.
Following discussion, the School Committee took a straw vote and voted unanimously to move to a mask optional policy. A formal vote will be taken on Monday, March 7, 2022. On Monday, there will also be further discussion of next steps with the Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP) given the unique circumstances of our youngest students.
This straw vote means it is very likely that on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, masks will be optional in our school buildings (except in specific circumstances identified below.)
As we move to this mask-optional environment, we will emphasize personal choice and responsibility around masking. There will be many reasons for which students and staff continue to wear masks. There will be reasons students and staff decide not to wear masks. All decisions will be supported and we will ask our school communities to be respectful of others’ individual choices.
As we move to optional masking, it will be very important for families to do the following:
– Perform daily symptom assessment
– Stay home and test if symptoms are present
– Remain up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, including booster doses
– Participate in the weekly home antigen testing program
– Continue to mask in certain circumstances
Masks will still be required in the following circumstances:
– People returning from COVID infection on days 6-10 (CDC requires 10 days of masking, regardless of vaccination status)
– In nursing/health offices
We will have further guidance regarding masks on school buses and other school events and activities in the coming days.
We know this is a significant change for our students and staff filled with many different emotions. Our teachers and staff will be working with students over the next few days to help them to understand the changes and how they can support each other in the personal decisions they will make with their families.
As always, we will continue to monitor health and safety conditions with the goal of promoting a healthy learning environment for all of our students and staff. Thank you for your support as we adapt once again to this ever-changing pandemic.