The Barnstable Public School District is committed to providing a safe environment as schools reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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, in accordance with guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the following requirements are in place until further notice.
A face covering that covers the nose and mouth must be worn by all individuals (students, staff, and visitors) inside school buildings and on school transportation unless they have provided a physician’s note documenting an exemption.
An exemption may be considered for anyone who has a medical, behavioral or other challenge making it unsafe to wear a face mask or face covering. Parents may not excuse their child from the face mask requirement by signing a waiver. Exemptions to this policy may only be granted with physician documentation of the specific medical, behavioral or other challenge making it unsafe to wear the mask or face covering.
Face coverings will not be required while eating, drinking, during mask breaks, or at any time outdoors.
Students with a documented disability that directly impacts their ability to wear face coverings are expected to wear a mask to the greatest extent possible; these students do not require a mask exemption letter for the times they are unable to wear their mask due to their disability. These students are expected to increase mask tolerance and mask wearing duration. A face shield may be offered as an alternative for these students, if tolerated, while working on increasing mask tolerance.
Face coverings can be disposable or reusable and will need to:
fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin,
be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material,
fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, and be secured with ties or ear loops.
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 coverings for individuals who arrive at a building, or board school transportation, without one.
Per federal public health order, all individuals age 2 and above must wear a face covering while riding public transportation (including school buses) and when in medical facilities (including school health offices), unless a medical exemption is provided.
All COVID-19 protocols will be reevaluated regularly based upon community transmission data, vaccination rates, and in conjunction with federal, state and local guidance.
Reference: CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools, 8/5/21 8/25/21 Implementation of DESE Mask Mandate, 8/25/21