All But One Greater Danbury School Votes to Make Masks Optional
If you're looking for a clear cut answer about mask wearing in schools, there really isn't one.
When Governor Ned Lamont ended the states school mask mandate, (it officially goes into effect on February 28), it left the masking decision in the hands of the local school boards.
Up until now, all schools in the state have had to comply with the state issued mandate that requires students and teachers to wear a mask when in the classroom, but that mandate expires at the end of February, so school boards throughout Greater Danbury have had meetings to vote on the next course of action.
As of today, (February 17), all but one public school district in Greater Danbury has voted to make mask wearing optional, and leave the decision up to parents and teachers.
Brookfield was first to pass the optional legislation, followed by Bethel, New Fairfield, New Milford, Ridgefield, and the latest to vote for the optional mask rule was Newtown where according to CT Post, has had a very spirited mask debate between those who want to keep the mandate in effect, and those who feel the kids have suffered enough wearing the masks.
On Tuesday evening, the Newtown Board of Education voted unanimously to make wearing a mask a personal choice, and thus joined the growing list of school districts who have adopted that same policy.
The only hold out so far to this optional mask rule has been Danbury Public Schools. The Board Of Education Policy Committee met on Wednesday evening, (February 16), and failed to pass any recommendation on optional mask wearing. Board members who were scheduled to vote on this issue called it "premature" to make a decision without the proper guidance from the states Department of Education and Public Health. In other words, they want to follow the science.
The Danbury Health Director cited the current COVID-19 infection rate in the city as 10.8 percent with a little over 26 cases per 100,000 people. There are currently 4 people in Danbury Hospital recovering from COVID, but the one stat that seems to be playing a larger role in this decision is the 13 reported school cases in the last 3 days.
The full Danbury School Board has a meeting scheduled for next week to discuss their options, but it's not certain they will vote on any action or lift any of the mask requirements at that time, so stay tuned.