Students will be required to wear masks when they head back to school this fall in Woburn, Massachusetts.
The Woburn School Committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to mandate face coverings for children, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, through Oct. 31. At that time, the committee will discuss and potentially revise the policy based on health factors.
School Committee member Andrew Lipsett posted the decision on Facebook, noting that the body heard from over 200 people in the community. Lipsett said several comments came from stakeholders, including doctors, nurses, researchers and policymakers, all of whom favored a universal mask policy.
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"I deeply appreciate everyone who took time to speak either in person or virtually tonight, as well as those who sent us thoughtful emails," Lipsett wrote on Facebook. "The communications we got ran the gamut of views on the subject, and while there was no way to have everyone leave the meeting with an outcome they agreed with, I'm thankful to have been able to hear from all involved."
The committee is crafting a detailed policy and will vote to instate it before school starts on Sept. 9.
"This decision should never have been placed on our superintendent, our administration, or our committee. But it was, and I'm relieved the committee voted unanimously to follow CDC, AAP, and medical guidance to begin our school year," Lipsett said.
More on Mask Mandates in Mass. Schools
Gov. Charlie Baker's Administration is recommending that students and staff who are not vaccinated wear masks, but ultimately left the decision to local districts. He is coming under mounting pressure to implement a statewide mask mandate in schools.
In the meantime, some school districts have decided to require masks in class when school starts again.
The Westborough School Committee approved a decision to require masks through September on Wednesday. Additionally, students and staff must disclose their covid-19 vaccination status.
Other school districts that have recently decided to instate or maintain mask mandates include Andover, Attleboro, Amesbury, Dracut and Wilmington.