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Schools send out survey on mask policy

Westfield Public Schools Superintendent

WESTFIELD — Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski is sending a survey to staff, students and parents in advance of the scheduled School Committee meeting on Aug. 16 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the mask policy for the return to school in the fall.

Czaporowski said that while the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education did send out guidance and recommendations, the ultimate policy-making decisions were left to local districts and school committees. He said the survey will ask for a vote of preference on the three main options, in order to give the Westfield School Committee members as much information as possible before making their decisions.

DESE and the state are requiring that masks be worn on all public transportation, including school buses. Masks are not required to be worn outside, and anyone may choose to wear a mask at any time, indoors or out.

Czaporowski said in the survey there are three options to choose from. Option 1 is for prekindergarten to grade 6 students to wear masks in school and all unvaccinated students in grades 7 to 12 to wear masks in school buildings. All vaccinated staff and students do not need to wear masks.

Option 2 requires masks for all students and staff in school buildings, in all grades, regardless of vaccination status.

Option 3 would make masks optional for all students and staff in school buildings, in all grades, regardless of vaccination status.

Everybody is being asked to return the survey to the district by Aug. 16, prior to the School Committee meeting. There will also be up to 30 minutes available for public comments at the meeting.

Czaporowski said he has started to receive emails from parents asking what the policy will be for the return to school, and also giving their opinions on what it should be.

“It’s important for me to have staff, students and parents voices heard, and I know it’s important to the School Committee,” Czaporowski said.

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