Update: Masks Optional in WPS

March 8, 2022


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Mask-Wearing Optional: Beginning Tomorrow, March 9

Good afternoon, WPS Community:

At last evening’s Watertown School Committee meeting, members unanimously approved the recommendation for using metrics to indicate when mask-wearing will be optional or when it may be required. Thus, based on yesterday’s pooled testing results and the trends that we are seeing with community COVID levels, beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 9, 2022, WPS will move to ‘masks as optional’ for students and staff. Additionally, masks will not be required on buses, at sporting events, extracurricular activities, or other gatherings. We will carefully monitor the metrics and publish them weekly on Fridays.

When the metrics indicate that masks are optional, decisions about mask-wearing for adults are a personal choice and one that will be respected. Mask wearing for children is a family’s choice. In preparation for this change, age-appropriate, student-friendly communications were prepared by principals and directors to share with students. Links to the presentations can be found here:

Preschool Presentation

Elementary Presentation

Middle School Presentation

*High School information was shared through morning announcements

As a school community, we are supportive of all students and adults, regardless of their mask-wearing decisions, and endeavor to create learning environments where students and staff members feel comfortable either wearing or not wearing masks.

Please note that our COVID response protocols remain in place.

  • Please keep your child(ren) home if they have the symptoms of COVID. Utilize your at-home COVID tests or visit our symptomatic testing site to determine if your child has COVID. It is even more important to have your child tested and keep them home if they are not feeling well as their classmates may not be wearing masks.

  • If your child has COVID, they must stay home for five full days, and may only return after day 5 if they are symptom-free, and they must wear a mask at school through day 10.

  • Please inform the school if your child tests positive for COVID.

  • Your child should have a spare mask with them during the day in case it becomes necessary to wear a mask. Examples when it may be necessary include going to the Nurse’s Office or becoming symptomatic during the school day.

  • Masks are strongly recommended for preschool students or any student who is not vaccinated.

Finally, if you believe that your child needs an accommodation for their own health needs that is above and beyond personal mask-wearing, please reach out to Kathy Desmarais, Director of Student Services, at kathleen.desmarais@watertown.k12.ma.us.

As we approach the two-year mark of the shutdown of WPS due to COVID-19, it is with hope and optimism that we enter this new phase of the pandemic, beginning with the move to masks being optional. Thank you for all of your support and everything that you have done and continue to do for Watertown’s children throughout the pandemic.

With kind regards,

Dede Galdston

Superintendent of Schools