Parents react to statewide mask mandate ending in schools Monday | News


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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)– The statewide mask mandate in schools ends Monday, giving districts the power to choose whether or not to enforce face coverings in classrooms. Many local communities already deciding to lift their mandates next week.

Several districts have said they’re making masks optional after February break.

This, after both DESE and the Mass. Department of Health announced earlier this month they were lifting their mask requirement in schools statewide on February 28th.

Those districts include: Longmeadow, Agawam, Southampton, Westfield, West Springfield, Chicopee and the Granville Tolland regional school district.

Some like Southampton and Agawam are making masks optional in schools as soon as this Monday.

Parents we spoke tonight had mixed feelings about this.

“We’re very excited that it’s going to be happening,” said Amy Oleksak of Longmeadow.

The indoor mask mandate, lifting in Springfield on Monday in all businesses. That includes inside the MassMutual center, where Thunderbirds games are played.

“I think that people are ready to get back to some normalcy too so I think that our fans have done a really nice job with it and it’s obviously not something that any of us like to do but we’ve been doing it to keep people safe and to keep games on and it’s the right thing to do,” said Nate Costa, president of the Springfield Thunderbirds.

While Springfield is still keeping the masks on a little bit longer in its public schools, some other districts are shifting to mask optional policy next week, including Thursday in Longmeadow, something two parents we caught up with, said they’re relieved about.

“The kids can express themselves. They can see communications better and interact more socially with their friends,” said Mike McDonough of Longmeadow.

Amy Oleksak said she thinks it’ll help with her kids’ learning.

“They’re learning to read in kindergarten so it’ll be nice to be able to see the teachers with their mouths read,” she said.

Other families – aren’t as certain. It’s a good idea. over the border in Enfield, CT, Alexia Herbert’s daughter’s school is also choosing to make masks optional. While she said she’s indifferent about the decision, she does have some concerns.

“Is this going to spread more and have more issues with COVID? Especially February vacation, April vacation, is everything going to rise again?,” she said.

With two younger siblings in the house, Herbert said her daughter will remain masked up at school.

“She’s so used to it now that its link there’s no reason why she wouldn’t wear a mask,” said Herbert.

Other districts that will remain masked up include – Belchertown, Northampton, South Hadley, Easthampton, and Holyoke. The Holyoke Board of Health will meet Tuesday on to discuss the city’s indoor mask mandate.

Copyright 2022. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.

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