Showing posts with label facial covering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label facial covering. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

MIAA continues mask policy used for Fall sports to start Winter season

"This #MIAA memo regarding Winter Masking guidelines was recently sent to schools. #patience #understanding #OneTeamOneMIAA" 

 Shared from Twitter:

MIAA continues mask policy used for Fall sports to start Winter season
MIAA continues mask policy used for Fall sports to start Winter season

Monday, November 22, 2021

Mask Waiver for Franklin High School - Implementation process, timeline, and details proposed

To: Franklin School Committee 
From: Sara Ahern, Superintendent 
Date: November 16, 2021
Re: Agenda Item for Discussion/Action - Policy EBCFA Face Coverings

As you are aware, DESE approved a Mask Waiver for Franklin High School since the vaccination rate at the school is above 80%. With this waiver, the School Committee can make a local decision to ease the mask mandate for vaccinated students and staff, making wearing a mask or face covering optional for these individuals. The following memo outlines a proposed timeline, details, and process.

Background Information:
The overall vaccination rate at FHS is 82%.
There have only been 10 cases at FHS since the start of the school year. This is 10% of the FPS cases but FHS has 35% of the school population.
We have had no evidence of in-school transmission or clusters at FHS.
Hundreds of students eat lunch, unmasked, in the cafeteria each day.

With the waiver now granted, I propose the following provisions:
Masks become optional for vaccinated FHS students and staff
Beginning December 13, 2021 through December 23, 2021 (this will allow us to see if we have an uptick in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday and plan for implementation); then again, beginning January 10, 2022 following the winter break.
Families complete an attestation form related to vaccination status and permission to share it
Masks would still be required for
Unvaccinated FHS students and staff
All visitors, regardless of vaccination status
All individuals in the Nurse’s office
All individuals on buses/school transportation
All spectators/audience members at events, regardless of vaccination status
Vaccinated individuals identified as close contacts
Athletics - Mask requirements for athletes and MIAA events remain to be determined. We will remain apprised of MIAA/DESE/Hockomock League Rules (see also above).
Masks remain optional as long as the following metrics are met
14-day percent positivity in Franklin less than 4%
There is no evidence of in-school transmission
There is no evidence of clusters based on classroom or activity
Recognizing that this is a fluid situation, additional metrics or provisions may need to be established

While this will not be welcome news to all, the sentiment I sense from FHS is that the school community is generally in favor of relaxing the mask mandate for vaccinated individuals. Masks are only one mitigation strategy among many that we are using to prevent the spread of COVID. Important FHS mitigation strategies also include vaccination, UVGI throughout the entire school, portable HEPA filtration units, good hand hygiene practices, monitoring symptoms and staying home when sick, Test and Stay for close contacts, and symptomatic COVID testing.

Mask Waiver for Franklin High School - Implementation process, timeline, and details proposed
Mask Waiver for Franklin High School - Implementation process, timeline, and details proposed

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Boston Globe: "When can the COVID-19 masks finally come off?"

"Amid the turmoil of the past two years — a period that included a deadly pandemic, mass layoffs, an ugly presidential election and an attack on the U.S. Capitol — some of the fiercest political debates in America have been waged over a nearly weightless piece of fabric: the face mask.

U.S. officials were slow to embrace face masks as a strategy for slowing the spread of the coronavirus. When they finally did, masks became a potent symbol of the pandemic — a common-sense public health measure turned political flashpoint and a visible reminder that life was anything but normal.

Now, with the summer’s delta surge in the rearview mirror and the vaccination of school-age children underway, many Americans are wondering when the masks might finally come off."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

Boston Globe: "When can the COVID-19 masks finally come off?"
Boston Globe: "When can the COVID-19 masks finally come off?"

Friday, November 12, 2021

‘The pandemic is not over’

"Massachusetts coronavirus case numbers have lurched upward in recent days, in a worrisome development that experts say underlines the need for people to get vaccinated and to take precautions such as wearing masks in indoor public spaces.

Case numbers began rising from rock-bottom levels in early July, hit a peak in mid-September, and then declined until early this month. But in the past week or so, they began to rise again. The seven-day average of reported cases was 1,182 on Nov. 3. A week later, as of Nov. 10, it had jumped to 1,481. "

Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

‘The pandemic is not over’
‘The pandemic is not over’

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

school mask mandate is extended through "at least January 15, 2022"

MASC-SchoolCommittee (@MASCSchoolComm) tweeted Tue, Oct 26, 2021:
Commissioner Riley has announced that the state #MAEdu school mask mandate is extended through "at least January 15, 2022." 
Please see attached documents for more information.

Today, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced that after consulting with medical experts and state health officials, Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley notified school districts in the Commonwealth that he will extend the mask requirement in all K-12 public schools through at least January 15, 2022.
The Department, in collaboration with medical experts and state health officials, will continue to evaluate and consider other criteria that could be used in the future to lift the mask requirement based on public health data.
“Massachusetts is a national leader in vaccination rates for adults and eligible children, and in anticipation of the vaccine becoming available in the coming weeks for children ages 5 to 11 years old, this extension of the mask requirement will allow time for the elementary school population to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. “This will be another big step forward in our efforts to keep school safe for our kids.”
“Masks remain a simple and effective measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep students in school safely,” said Commissioner Riley. “Together with the Test and Stay program, high vaccination rates, low transmission rates in schools and all the hard work in keeping our students safe, our kids are able to stay in school where they belong and can flourish.”
School officials will continue to be able to lift the mask requirement if they can demonstrate that at least 80 percent of all students and staff in a school building are vaccinated after submitting documentation to DESE. Lifting the mask mandate through the vaccination threshold is a local decision made by school and district leaders if they choose to take advantage it.
The following mask requirements will remain in effect:
  • Public school students ages 5 and older in all grades and staff are required to wear masks indoors in schools, except when eating, drinking or during mask breaks
  • All visitors are also expected to wear a mask in school buildings, regardless of vaccination status
  • Masks are not required outdoors
  • It is strongly recommended that students younger than 5 also wear a mask in school
  • Students and staff who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, and students who cannot wear a mask for behavioral reasons are exempted from this requirement
All districts are required this school year to provide in-person learning to all students. Since the start of the year, approximately 920,000 public school students have been learning in schools with minimal disruptions. In addition to masking, this progress has been possible thanks to school communities working together to participate in the state’s COVID-19 testing program, combined with high vaccination rates among eligible populations.
Massachusetts has become a national model for surveillance and rapid testing in schools. More than 2,200 public and private schools have opted into either one or multiple forms of testing that the state is providing free to all schools. DESE and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services launched a groundbreaking Test and Stay program for students identified as close contacts in school, allowing students to be tested daily and remain in class if they test negative. This innovative approach has saved students across the Commonwealth more than 48,000 days of in-person learning this school year.
In August, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave the commissioner the authority to require masks for public school staff and students (ages 5 and above) in all grades through at least October 1, 2021. The commissioner said he would revise the requirement as warranted by public health data.

Shared from Twitter:

school mask mandate is extended through "at least January 15, 2022"
school mask mandate is extended through "at least January 15, 2022" 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Boston Globe: mask and schools; inappropriate behavior changes rule for KP football games

"Mass. communities are reluctant to let students remove masks in school — even when they can"
"Scores of Massachusetts communities have been so effective at getting students and school staff vaccinated that they may no longer have to abide by the state’s mask mandates for their middle and high schools right now — if they chose to.

But while more than 60 communities have met the Baker administration’s threshold of 80 percent or higher vaccination rates among teens, only two — Hopkinton and Ashland — have sought and received permission to stop requiring inoculated students and staff to wear masks in their high school.

And Hopkinton officials are having second thoughts.

The Hopkinton School Committee opted to delay any action to lift the state mask mandate in its high school even though the state gave the town permission on Oct. 7."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

"‘Inappropriate’ behavior prompts new rule for some students at King Philip Regional High football games"
"Middle and elementary school students will now have to bring a parent or guardian with them to attend varsity football games in Wrentham following unruly behavior at home matchups this season, according to a letter sent to King Philip Regional School District families last week.

The new requirement was put in place after young students were caught “exhibiting unruly, inappropriate, disrespectful, and unsportsmanlike behavior during games” at King Philip Regional High School several times over the last few weeks, Superintendent Paul Zinni said in the Tuesday letter.

Zinni said the incidents are “unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

“At King Philip, we pride ourselves on our sportsmanship and integrity for all student-athletes and the student body,” Zinni wrote. “We have all been enjoying cheering on our team this season and wish for their continued success.”
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Boston Globe: "Behind the state’s school masking policy: a collision of science and politics"

"Opponents of school mask mandates have often been louder and more insistent than supporters — even though polls suggest they’re in the minority. Parent groups opposed to making students wear masks in school have filed at least six lawsuits across Massachusetts to stop the policy.

Now, internal state e-mails suggest that anti-masking activists are having a significant impact on the Baker administration, which has resisted full compliance with federal guidance that students should wear masks at school even if they’ve been vaccinated. Current policy will soon allow schools with high vaccination rates to drop mask requirements for vaccinated students and staff.

The determination to follow this middle path may be in part political. When a Massachusetts General Hospital doctor asked in an e-mail why the state was not following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, a top state health official was blunt: pressure."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

Boston Globe: "Behind the state’s school masking policy: a collision of science and politics"
Boston Globe: "Behind the state’s school masking policy: a collision of science and politics"

Friday, October 1, 2021

Recap: School Committee meeting hears of graffiti incident, DLI updates, ESSER III grant draft plans, and approves facial covering policy

Quick recap:
  • Graffiti incident at FHS discussed, Superintendent Ahern updated on Principal Hanna's response and work still underway
  • School topics (Davis Thayer, budget, etc.) scheduled for Town Council meeting Oct 6
  • New communications person, Lily Rivera introduced
  • Digital Learning Integrationists (DLI) provided updates on their work supporting teachers and learning technology
  • The draft plan was previewed for use of the ESSER III (Federal funding) to be made available
  • MASC delegate approved, review of MASC resolutions conducted, vote on them scheduled for next meeting. Odd situation may occur, if Denise Spencer doesn't get re-elected Nov 2, with the MASC conference scheduled for Nov 3, the conference would not have a Franklin representative
  • Facial covering policy approved, this wont be the last update, more are likely as the pandemic continues
  • Minutes from Sep 14 split from Consent agenda and approved; the remaining items of the Consent agenda also approved; both votes via roll call


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting live in the Council Chambers.


The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #schcom0928

School Committee agenda: 

School Committee packet folder (all the doc for the meeting) 


Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album


Citizens Comments
  • I stepped up to share about the Franklin Area Nonprofit Network (FANN) in an effort to reach out to the PCC organizations. The FANN vision "Franklin will be a community where nonprofit organizations work together for the greater good of its residents. " #schcom0928
  • Citizen comment on disappointing curriculum night experience was paperwork instead of info sharing and teacher info sharing #schcom0928
  • Citizen comment on when will get out of this? #schcom0928
FHS Student updates
  • Superintendent introduces the new FHS representatives. MacKenzie Atwood a senior (returning this year) production of Mama Mia Nov 12-13; speaks to the recent act of hateful graffiti found on a back door of the school #schcom0928 she can't feel safe in the halls.
  • "While we have made progress ... but more needs to be done, it has been met with more hatred" #schcom0928
  • Shaw Downing with an update on PSAT's, needing proctors to conduct the testing. Back to school night Thursday, Home coming Oct 7, register before req'd #schcom0928
Superintendent's report
  • Superintendent's report - key follow up to Kenzie's info; Principal Hanna sent note to FHS community today (copy to share later) #schcom0928, it was not a FPS student but they were found. "It puts a voice to the hurt" thank you for sharing and having the courage to do so
  • Principal Hanna reaching to the appropriate clubs to respond to the FHS community. Half day on Friday, PDD for staff. #schcom0928 Supt report link to be posted Weds (while be shared after it is available)
  • Supt Ahern and Business Admin Goodman to participate in the Town Council meeting next week to talk school topics among budget. School transport and buses an issue, late buses not available now. hence club and activities potentially hindered. #schcom0928
  • curriculum night was a question to be in person or remote, hoped in person would be better; COVID protocols needed to be followed, to address # of folks in a room, shorter duration and smaller groups #schcom0928 middle/FHS coming later
  • materials prepared for consistency in delivery, further opportunities? yes, all year long - teachers are responsive to requests; conferences coming in Nov #schcom0928
  • "this highlights how important our diversity, equity and inclusion work is" different experience for a SchCom member at the curriculum night, it was informally organized and allowed for moving around. #schcom0928
Discussion/Action Items
  • Franklin TV Board Appointment - I recommend the appointment of Rose Turco to the Franklin TV Board of Directors. - motion seconded, passes via roll call 7-0 #schcom0928
  • MASC Delegate - I recommend the Committee appoint Denise Spencer to serve as the Committee's delegate to the annual MASC Annual Meeting of Delegates as discussed.  motion seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call #schcom0928 (risk of delegate due to conf and election timing)
  • ** Policy - Waiving 1st reading - I recommend waiving the First Reading of Policy EBCFA Face Coverings as discussed. motion, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call #schcom0928
  • ** D. Policy Adoption - I recommend adopting policy EBCFA - Face Coverings as discussed  #schcom0928 - minor changes, and inclusion of non-compliance section - motion, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call - (community) input included in the policy;
  • policy discussion on masks not over yet, DESE guidance still incomplete and lacking; we can be stronger than DESE but not more lenient, hard to plan for policy changes in these circumstances #schcom0928
  • MASC resolution discussion tonight, vote comes later: doc with resolution can be found ->  #schcom0928
Discussion Only Items
  • next up - ESSER III funding plan ->  #schcom0928
  • beginning slide 4, an accounting of the COVID funding received thus far #schcom0928 page 7 gets into the ESSER III funding to be spread over next couple of years; putting plan together in consideration of other funding sources
  • page 10 highlighted items are an area of funding possible via ESSER funds; some although ranked high don't really qualify for this funding; #schcom0928 Air conditioning is a project beyond the scope of this funding
  • page 11 also has two highlights for areas of possible funding #schcom0928 page 15 has the five priority areas broken out by the stakeholder groups - Page 17 has the start of the proposed ESSER funding requests
  • page 18 closes out the proposal with two more line items - "Our Challenge - Develop a plan between FY 22 and FY 24 to sustain investments that are needed in the long-term"  #schcom0928
  • The survey can also be used as input for other needs discussions. #schcom0928 a job description would come to committee for review before posting once needed
  • next up - back to school status update -> doc located here #schcom0928 gradually approx. 80% across Franklin, how to determine which of these are FPS vs. elsewhere
  • data collection currently focused on FHS, currently 75% with more clarification on the numbers being worked. Middle school problematic as not all of them are currently eligible; close contacts will get complicated as this goes forward without masks (i.e 3' to 6') #schcom0928
  • test and stay up and running - no testing without consent, forms on website, top of page easy to find #schcom0928 MCAS scores coming out this week, more full evaluation forthcoming once received and understood. Math a standout area of concern
  • what happens if we don't get to 80%, then the whole school stays masked until such time. #schcom0928 to check on testing form if submitted, contact the school nurse; out of school exposure does not qualify for test/stay
Information matters
  • Info matters - budget handout prepared by budget subcommittee; booth at Harvest Festival (Zone 5 - Rockland Trust parking lot, near Emmons St) #schcom0928
  • Policy next meeting, Oct 6; 6 to 7:30 PM likely in training room; next meeting Oct 21 
  • Joint PCC did meet yesterday; no field trips for fall, maybe for spring; equitable funding and resources desired. Substance taskforce, looking for SAFE hosting #schcom0928
  • SWAC first meeting next week; ad-hoc committee to schedule meeting; Hock Y still serving free food, daycare available; other support groups for specific illnesses; #schco0928
  • moving to consent agenda - separate the minutes for Sep 14, motion to approve, second, passes via roll call 6-0-1 (1 abstain -Judy)
  • motion to accept consent agenda, second, passes 7-0 via roll call #schcom0928
  • motion to adjourn, seconded, passes 7-0 via roll call, that's all for tonight  #schcom0928

Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days


Digital Learning Integrationists (DLI) team
Digital Learning Integrationists (DLI) team

Saturday, September 25, 2021

"a mask reduces the potential exposure of the person wearing it"

"If I’m the only person wearing a mask in a store or other indoor location, am I really protected from infection?

It’s true that masks work best when everyone in the room is wearing one. That’s because when an infected person wears a mask, a large percentage of their exhaled infectious particles are trapped, stopping viral spread at the source. And when fewer viral particles are floating around the room, the masks others are wearing would likely block those that have escaped.

But there is also plenty of evidence showing that masks protect the wearer even when others around them are mask-free. The amount of protection depends on the quality of the mask and how well it fits. During a hotel outbreak in Switzerland, for instance, several employees and a guest who tested positive for the coronavirus were wearing only face shields (with no masks); those who wore masks were not infected. And a Tennessee study found that communities with mask mandates had lower hospitalization rates than areas where masks weren’t required."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required)

Ben's guide to mask wearing - #DoYourPartFranklin
Ben's guide to mask wearing - #DoYourPartFranklin

Thursday, September 9, 2021

FM #600 - Franklin's Health Director Cathleen Liberty - 08/31/21 (audio)

FM #600 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 600 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares my conversation with Health Director Cathleen Liberty on August 31, 2021. We had our conversation via virtual conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

We talk about the major topics of 

  • Protocol set for COVID-19 exposure

  • Public health nurse update

  • Metacomet Shared Service grant update

  • Tune it out program update

  • New podcast coming - “The Topic”

The recording runs about 30 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with Cathleen

Audio file ->


Health Dept. page

Board of Health page


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( 

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.


How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.


For additional information, please visit  or

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"


Town of Franklin Health Director Cathleen Liberty
Town of Franklin Health Director Cathleen Liberty