Schools seek parent and guardian input on district mask plans

Aug 12, 2021

Parents and guardians of children attending Wareham Public Schools have been invited to share their thoughts on what mask requirements — if any — should be implemented for the upcoming school year. 

Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood shared a survey link that families can use to provide their input on the subject

In a letter to parents and guardians, Shaver-Hood said that the town’s current mask mandate — which requires people of all ages, whether or not they are vaccinated, to wear masks inside town buildings — applies to schools and buses. 

“Currently, the Wareham Board of Health is mandating that all must wear masks when in Wareham Public Schools and on buses; this is regardless of vaccination status,” Shaver-Hood wrote. “As a Town entity, we are compelled to follow their mandates.”

However, Shaver-Hood also indicated that the School Committee would be discussing masks and “making the final decision regarding the wearing of masks” during its Aug. 26 meeting. She asked that families respond to the survey so the information could be shared with members of the School Committee. 

“I realize there are many different points of view regarding the COVID rules and restrictions,” she wrote. “Frustrations are plentiful and all of us would like nothing more than to return to normal. We will get back to normal but it is going to take some time, and until then, keeping everyone safe is our top priority.” 

Fielding FAQs 

In the letter to parents, Shaver-Hood also answered a number of frequently asked questions. Wareham Week has included those questions and answers (edited for clarity) below. 

1. Is there an option for remote learning? 

No. In accordance with the Commissioner of Education’s notice issued on May 27, 2021, districts will no longer be able to offer remote learning. Districts are required to be in-person, five days a week. 

2. Why is Wareham not following the new mask guidelines that were released by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education? 

We are currently following the mandate from the Wareham Board of Health. The School Committee will be discussing this further at its meeting on August 26, 2021. 

3. Will there be assigned seating this year? 

Yes, there will be assigned seating on our buses, lunchroom (elementary and middle) and in classrooms.

4. Will students be physically distanced during the day? 

No. As students will return to school five days a week, physical distancing is not an option. Opportunities will be provided for students to be outside when possible. 

5. Will mask breaks occur? 

Yes, students will be provided with mask breaks during the day.

The Aug. 26 School Committee meeting will be held at the Wareham Middle School.