Westwood School Committee Votes Unanimously to End Mask Requirement

Following Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's announcement that the statewide requirement for masks in public schools would end Feb. 28, the Westwood School District has decided to lift its mandate at the end of the month

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Parents attending a Westwood School Committee meeting Thursday night were torn over what to do about masks after Massachusetts decided Wednesday to let its statewide school mask requirement expire on Feb. 28.

The decision from Gov. Charlie Baker leaves school districts to decide whether to continue mandating masks.



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"At some point, we need to de-mask our children, but now is not the right time," suggested one parent weighing in over Zoom during the meeting's public comment section.

Others called for an end to the mandate in Westwood.

The five-member committee was more united in its decision, voting unanimously not to continue mandating masks past the end of February.

The committee cited high vaccination rates, low COVID-19 infections and the availability of masks and testing at school.

The decision was one Westwood school parent Dallas Rose and his three kids were hoping for.

"Forcing masks on kids at this point would be an incorrect assessment of the risk," argued Rose.

"I was very happy because I hate masks," admitted Rose's 11-year-old daughter, Delaney.

In the town of Westwood, the vaccination rate among 5-11 years old children fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is 70%. That's more than double Boston's rate, which is one reason why Boston will keep mandating masks in schools until further notice.

"Not only is it tighter physical space, because our classrooms can be quite crowded, but there are larger vaccination gaps among our youngest students, especially," said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

School officials will be keeping an eye on COVID-19 infections once kids return from vacation at the end of the month, hoping they won't have to go back to implementing another mask mandate.

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