The North Adams School Committee voted to pass a policy that requires face coverings for anyone in North Adams school buildings and on school transportation to start the school year.

There are some exceptions to the policy for those with medical, behavioral or other challenges who are not able to wear a mask according to the policy released by the Superintendent’s Office on the North Adams town website.  A written doctor’s note is required before an exception is granted.  A parent cannot simply sign a waiver excusing a student from following policy.

The complete policy released by the Superintendent’s Office is below. A “Family Forum” regarding school opening in North Adams is set for tonight at 6:00pm.  Click here for additional information.  The mask policy will be in effect until lifted by the School Committee.

File: EBCFA

FACE COVERINGS

The North Adams Public Schools District is committed to providing a safe environment in schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining a safe environment is critical to the Districts ability to returning students to a full-time classroom learning experience.

According to public health experts, one of the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus and to keep members of our school community safe is the use of face masks or face coverings. Therefore, using the guidance and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the District has established the following requirements which will remain in place until further notice.

A face covering that covers the nose and mouth must be worn by all individuals in school buildings and on school transportation. Face coverings must also be worn outside when social distancing cannot be observed.

Individuals may be excused from the requirement for the following list of reasons, per CDC guidance:

The individual:

  • has trouble breathing.
  • is unconscious.
  • in incapacitated.
  • cannot remove the mask or face covering without assistance.

In addition, masks or face coverings will not be required for anyone who has a medical, behavioral or other challenge making it unsafe to wear a face mask or face covering. A written note from a physician is required for a requested exemption. Parents may not excuse their child from the face mask requirement by signing a waiver.

Additionally, face masks or face coverings will not be required when appropriate social distancing is enforced:

  • during mask breaks.
  • while eating or drinking.
  • during physical education classes.
  • while outside.

Exceptions to this policy under certain circumstances, such as for students with medical, behavioral or other challenges who are unable to wear masks, must be approved by the building principal in consultation with the school nurse or local Board of Health. Face shields or physical barriers may provide an alternative in some instances.

A student’s mask or face covering is to be provided by the student’s family. Staff members are responsible for providing their own face coverings. However, the district will supply disposable face covering for individuals who arrive at a building, or board school transportation, without one.

If students are in violation of this policy, the building principal will consult with the parent/guardians to determine whether an exception is appropriate, or the student may be removed from the school building for in-person learning until such time as they can comply with the requirement, or the requirement is lifted.

Violations of this policy by staff will be handled in the same manner as other violations of School Committee policy.

Visitors in violation of this policy will be denied entry to the school/district facility.

This policy will remain in place until rescinded by the School Committee.

Guidance Statements

Massachusetts Department of Public Health https://www.mass.gov/doc/updated-advisory-regarding-masks-and-facecoverings-july-30-2021-0/download

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Guidance for Covid-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools Updated August 5, 2021 - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12- guidance.htm

Center for Disease Controls – Guidance for Covid-19 Prevention on Public Transportation https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/face-masks-publictransportation.html

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Fall 2021 Covid-19 Guidance https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/2021-0730fall-2021-covid19- guidance.pdf

SOURCE: MASC – August 10, 2021

Adopted: August 16, 2021

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