May 20, 2021
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The past few weeks after our return from April vacation have been very encouraging in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic. With only three positive pools and eight cases in our district since our return, we are optimistic about a gradual return to a more normal school experience. The downturn in the cases of COVID-19 across Massachusetts is undoubtedly due to our continued commitment to adhering to the health and safety measures in place and the vaccinations that are available for all people ages 12 and up.
Mask-wearing indoors and outdoors at school
As a follow-up to my previous update regarding the new guidance from the state, WPS will continue requiring mask-wearing both indoors and outdoors, even for staff and students who have been fully vaccinated. This is a local decision and is supported by the Watertown Health Department. We are very close to the end of the year and we want to end it on as healthy a note as possible.
Without a vaccine for children under 12 along with the challenges of maintaining social distancing while outdoors, continuing mask-wearing will enhance the safety of all of our students-those that are vaccinated and those that are not. Students have been wearing masks for a year, and we have just over 4 weeks left of school this year. Changing now will be disruptive to our very established routines. Please note that children already have mask breaks and don't wear masks during snack time and while eating lunch.
WPS administration will revisit mask-wearing after the Memorial Day break for students 12 and over, as vaccination numbers increase for this age group. We appreciate your support for keeping all of the members of our school community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on the recommendations of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), and the Middlesex League, the following protocols will be implemented for all students participating in WMS and WHS athletics:
- MS/HS Athletes on spring teams in active play OUTDOORS are not required to wear a mask/facial covering.
- MS/HS Athletes on spring teams in active play INDOORS are still required to wear a mask
- Visitors, spectators, volunteers, and staff are not required to wear mask/facial covering at this time ONLY IF THEY ARE ABLE TO MAINTAIN SIX FEET OF DISTANCE.
Please remember that students should wear masks while not engaged in active play.
Any changes to this protocol or any additional changes regarding mask-wearing will be communicated to families as they are made.