Parents attending a Westwood school committee meeting on Thursday night were torn over what to do about masks after Massachusetts decided on Wednesday to let its school-wide mask requirement expire. state on February 28.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision leaves school districts to decide whether to continue mandating masks.
“At some point we have to unmask our children, but now is not the right time,” a parent weighing in on Zoom suggested during the public comment section of the meeting.
Others have called for an end to the term at Westwood.
The five-member committee was more united in its decision, voting unanimously not to continue mandating masks after 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 a parent at Westwood Dallas Rose School and her three children hoped for.
“Forcing children to wear masks at this stage would be an incorrect risk assessment,” Rose explained.
“I was very happy because I hate masks,” admitted Delaney, Rose’s 11-year-old daughter.
In the city of Westwood, the vaccination rate among children 5-11 years old who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is 70%. That’s more than double Boston’s rate, which is one reason Boston will continue to mandate masks in schools until further notice.
“Not only is it a tighter physical space, as our classrooms can get quite crowded, but there are larger immunization gaps among our younger students, especially,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.
School officials will keep tabs on COVID-19 infections once the kids return from vacation at the end of the month, hoping they won’t have to come back to implement another mask mandate.