Wednesday, February 16, 2022

School Committee amends policy so "that masks will not be universally required" effective 2/28/22


Dear Franklin Public Schools Community Members,

Earlier this evening, the Franklin School Committee voted to amend the policy on Masks and Face Coverings (Policy EBCFA) so that masks will not be universally required as follows:

  • It is strongly recommended that unvaccinated or otherwise immunocompromised individuals wear masks in school buildings, and on school grounds, even when social distancing is observed.
  • Individuals who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a mask, but may do so if desired.

This language will be in effect on Monday, February 28, 2022 for all schools in Franklin, as the current DESE mask mandate will not be extended beyond that time. 

Principals will be working with their staff on communicating this change to students so that children are prepared for school on February 28, 2022. We will emphasize the importance of being kind and respecting the choices that others make. We ask that families reinforce this with children over February break and in advance of their children's return to school. Counselors are available for students who may be experiencing anxiety with this change. Please contact your child’s school.

Please Note: Masks will still be required under certain circumstances as follows:

  • Masks will still be required on buses/school transportation (per federal order)
  • Masks will still be required in health offices (per DPH for health facilities)
  • Masks will still be required for individuals testing as COVID-positive and returning to school from isolation on day 6 or later through day 10 (per DPH and CDC protocols)
  • For MIAA athletic events and some other activities, mask rules are up to host-school or venue-specific rules. Therefore, depending on the venue, a mask may be required.

The decision for moving to a mask optional approach involved the examination of numerous data points, as noted on the attached slide show.

With COVID case counts dropping, we will be moving towards a weekly summary, rather than daily communications of COVID cases affecting our schools. This will begin Wednesday, March 2. This may be unsettling for community members, especially with masks becoming optional on February 28, but the premise of our response remains the same: we have many layered mitigation strategies in our schools including ventilation. Individuals may want to consider opting to mask, may want to consider vaccinations or boosters (if unvaccinated), may sign up for rapid antigen testing, should monitor for symptoms, and may wish to sign up for symptomatic testing.

For families or faculty/staff who wish to opt-in for rapid antigen testing and/or symptomatic testing, please visit our website and click on the links to sign up.

A community vaccine clinic for children ages 5-11 is being held at the Franklin Senior Center on February 23 from 9-10 AM or 3-5 PM. Sign ups can occur here:

Each change that we’ve experienced through the pandemic has come with mixed feelings among students, staff, and families. We have navigated each change, with new tools and successively fewer restrictions, successfully, minimizing the impact of COVID in our school community. 

I implore everyone to treat each other respectfully as we move into this next phase of our management of COVID. We will certainly be communicating this message to our students prior to and upon their return from February vacation.


Sara Ahern
Superintendent of Schools

School Committee amends policy so "that masks will not be universally required" effective 2/28/22
School Committee amends policy so "that masks will not be universally required" effective 2/28/22

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