School Leadership Lifts Mask Mandate

Masks Optional Since Feb 28

Jackie Malley ('22), Orbit Contributor

As of Monday, February 28th, the Reading Public School district implemented a “mask optional” environment, ending the mandate that was in place since September.

On February 9th, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that the mask mandate for schools would be lifted beginning on February 28th. Reading Public Schools Director of Nurses, Mrs. Giuliana, explained the recommendations of the governor and what decisions had been made for the state of Massachusetts. “The governor announced it with DESE, which is the Department of Education, and the Department of Public Health. Throughout COVID, they have been working together to put out guidance. They decided, the mask mandate had been extended several times, but that February 28th would be the last date.”

We discussed with our public health team…looking at all the data, was it a safe time to make masks optional. And we felt like it was.

— Mrs. Giuliana

After the state announced their guidance, it was up to the Town of Reading to determine next steps for the public schools in Reading. “We worked with our Board of Health, because the Reading Board of Health still had a mask mandate for indoor buildings. Then, subsequent to the state rescinding masks, our town did,” Mrs.Guiliana stated. The decision for schools to rescind the mask mandate was then discussed by a team of leaders within the Reading Public School district. “We discussed with our public health team, our school physician, the superintendent, and myself, looking at all the data, was it a safe time to make masks optional. And we felt like it was.”

The decision was then left up to the school committee’s vote. After hearing and reviewing the recommendations of the governor, DESE, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Reading Board of Health, Reading Public Schools Health Services, and public opinion, the school committee voted to lift the mask mandate.