Policy EBCFA: Face Coverings

The 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 Centers 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 in school buildings, on school grounds and on school transportation, even when social distancing is observed.  
Individuals may be excused from the requirement for the following list of reasons, per CDC guidance:
 
The individual:
  • has trouble breathing;
  • is unconscious;
  • in incapacitated;
  • cannot remove the mask or face covering without assistance.
In addition, masks or face coverings will not be required for anyone who has a medical, behavioral or other challenge making it unsafe to wear a face mask or face covering.  A written note from a physician is required for a requested exemption.  Parents may not excuse their child from the face mask requirement by signing a waiver.
 
Additionally, face masks or face coverings will not be required when appropriate social distancing is enforced:
  • during mask breaks;
  • while eating or drinking;
  • during physical education classes;
  • while outside.
Exceptions to this policy under certain circumstances, such as for students with medical, behavioral or other challenges who are unable to wear masks, must be approved by the building principal in consultation with the school nurse or local Board of Health.  Face shields or physical barriers may provide an alternative in some instances.
 
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 covering for individuals who arrive at a building, or board school transportation, without one.
 
If students are in violation of this policy, the building principal will consult with the parent/guardians to determine whether an exception is appropriate, or the student may be removed from the school building for in-person learning until such time as they can comply with the requirement or the requirement is lifted.
 
Violations of this policy by staff will be handled in the same manner as other violations of School Committee policy.
 
Visitors in violation of this policy will be denied entry to the school/district facility.
 
This policy will remain in place until rescinded by the School Committee.
LEGAL REF.: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, COVID-19 Order No. 31 -
 
REFS.: Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Considerations for Wearing Masks - 
 
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Reopening Guidelines - http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/
 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts – Mask Up MA! – 
 
SOURCE:  MASC – August 2020
 
Region voted to approve: August 25, 2020
Amherst voted to approve: August 25, 2020
Pelham voted to approve: August 25, 2020
Effective Date: August 25, 2020