October 27, 2021
Dear APS families and staff,
Last week, APS Director of Nursing Rita Casper provided an update on the district’s mask mandate during the October 21st School Committee meeting, noting that masks in all school buildings have been a successful strategy to keeping our students in school. The COVID-19 mitigation strategies and protocols the district has in place are to protect all students and staff in our buildings. In addition, with the expected announcement of vaccine availability for children ages 5-11 in the coming weeks, an extension of the mask requirement would allow time for this student population to receive the vaccine, should families choose.
Andover Director of Public Health Tom Carbone also noted that while COVID-19 numbers have been relatively stable in the community, the Board of Health feels it would be prudent to continue wearing masks through the upcoming holidays.
On Tuesday, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced that he is extending the COVID-19 mask mandate for all public schools in Massachusetts until at least January 15, 2022. DESE’s full update can be found here.
Based on the recommendations from Rita and Tom, the district will parallel DESE’s extension of the mask mandate and will continue operating in accordance with School Committee policy EBCFA- Face Coverings until at least mid-January 2022. While DESE has offered the opportunity for districts to apply for a waiver of the mask mandate, APS currently does not have plans to do so, given we are unable to ascertain accurate data on staff vaccination rates and have a number of families with children at all levels in the district.
We appreciate your continued partnership.
Andover Public Schools